Monday, June 07, 2004

BBC - US Plans Big S Korea Troop Cuts

And about time too, I say. If South Korea's youth like to maintain that theirs is a state under the military occupation of an "imperialist" America, they ought to greet this announcement with joy rather than trepidation. Let's see how many of them sign up to discharge their patriotic duties in place of the filthy Yankee soldiers.

The United States has proposed withdrawing 12,500 of its 37,000 troops stationed in South Korea by 2006.

US officials told South Korean counterparts of the plans ahead of talks in Seoul on troop movements.

The reduction would include 3,600 troops which Washington has already earmarked for redeployment to Iraq.

The US has said it needs to modernise its forces, but the proposed speed and scale of the move may leave the South feeling vulnerable to North Korea.

"US officials told us last night that under their Global Defence Posture Review they are planning to reduce the number of U.S. troops here by 12,500 by the end of December 2005," said Kim Sook, head of the South Korea Foreign Ministry's North America bureau.

[............]

South Korea's President Roh Moo-hyun - who favours less dependence on US forces - has also tried to dispel fears over security.

"The concepts of self-defence and an alliance (with the US) can complement each other," he said in a televised speech on Sunday for the country's Memorial Day for war dead.

But the South does not want big changes until the resolution of the dispute over North Korea's development of nuclear weapons, says the BBC's correspondent in Seoul, Charles Scanlon. It would prefer the pull-out to happen gradually over 10 years.
Why is Roh Moo-hyun hesitating all of a sudden? Isn't this just the sort of move he was elected to bring about? You wanted a "more equal" relationship with America - well now you'll have it. What you can't have is the freedom to whine about the presence of American troops from behind the security fence they provide against the million soldiers of the DPRK.