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S.Korean premier stresses US troops' role

Xinhuanet 2003-05-09 11:22:14

””””SEOUL, May 9 (Xinhuanet) -- South Korean Prime Minister Goh Kun Friday said the South Korea-US alliance has been and always will be vitally important in "deterring war on the Korean Peninsula," according to South Korean national news agency Yonhap News.

””””The South Korean Premier made these remarks in a speech to the US 2nd Infantry Division deployed in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) which divided South Korea and Democratic People's Republic of Korea(DPRK) earlier Friday.

””””"The South Korea people know well that the alliance is the crux of peace and stability on the peninsula," Goh said to the US soldiers based in Uijeongbu, north of Seoul.

””””The 2nd Infantry Division is one of US Forces Korea (USFK) units closest to the military demarcation line in the zone. But, with Washington and Seoul now discussing the issue of transferring more responsibility for national defense to the South Korean military, the US division may be pulled back from the heavily armed frontline.

””””Moreover, Goh underscored that Seoul opposes any relocation of American forces until after "concerns over the DPRK nuclear issue settled," reported Yonhap.

””””South Korea and the United States early April agreed in a military talks to move out US Yongsan base in central Seoul as soon as possible and vowed to continue discussions on the timing of the overall realignment process of the USFK.

””””As a symbol of military alliance, the United States has stationed some 37,000 troops in South Korea since the end of Korean War (1950-1953). Enditem

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