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U.S. to Stop Reducing Troops in Korea

Posted April. 16, 2008 03:26,   


The government and the United States have reportedly agreed to abort the reduction of U.S. troops in Korea that was to be completed this year. The number of American military personnel will thus remain at 28,500.

A military source confirmed yesterday, on the condition of anonymity, that the U.S. Defense Department will not pull 3,500 soldiers out of Korea this year.

Under the Roh administration, the United States continuously downsized its military presence in Korea by redeploying 5,000 troops in 2004, 3,000 in 2005 and 1,000 in 2006. The U.S. Army originally had 37,500 soldiers stationed in Korea in 2004, when the two governments first agreed to the downsizing.

The source said, “North Korea is still a threat due to its nuclear program and long-range missiles. Fewer U.S. soldiers on the [Korean] Peninsula harm the joint readiness of the two countries. Thus, [the Korean presidential office of] Cheong Wa Dae and the White House have reached a mutual understanding that the downsizing is not in their mutual interest.”

Accordingly, major American weapons such as F-16 fighter planes and Apache gunships will remain at their current level.

General Burwell Bell, the outgoing commander of U.S. forces in Korea, told the House Armed Services Committee on March 12 that Washington should accept if Korean President Lee Myung-bak requests to U.S. President George W. Bush to stop U.S. troop reduction in South Korea.