U.S. to pull out most forces from Korean DMZ this year

Discussion in 'Asia' started by Lefty Wilbury, Apr 13, 2004.

  1. Lefty Wilbury
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    Lefty Wilbury Active Member

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    http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/breaking_3.html

    U.S. to pull out most forces from Korean DMZ this year
    Special to World Tribune.com
    EAST-ASIA-INTEL.COM
    Tuesday, April 13, 2004

    The U.S. military will withdraw most if its forces from the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea this year, an official announced today.

    The withdrawal means the United States will no longer have combat troops anywhere on the DMZ except at Panmunjom, where a U.S.-Korean battalion, commanded by a U.S. army lieutenant colonel, remains on guard in what is known as the Joint Security Area.

    Therefore South Korea, which has a 600,000-member military, will face North Korea's armed forces, the world's fifth largest with 1.1 million soldiers, most of whom are concentrated near the DMZ.

    The United States will turn over Observation Post Ouellette, which provides a view into North Korea, as part of a force reshuffle, the official said. U.S. forces will no longer guard the border, except except for the troops at the JSA in Panmunjom.

    South Korean forces will take over Ouelette, just as they have replaced U.S. forces everywhere else along the DMZ since the Korean War ended in 1953. South Korea officials, however, want the U.S. to keep its troops in the Joint Security Area as symbols of America's commitment to defend the South.

    The 2 1/2-mile wide, 151-mile long DMZ, is considered one of the last remaining symbols of the Cold War. However it is still an active war zone with mines, barbed wire and tank traps.
    U.S. troops guarding the inter-Korean border have served as a strategic "tripwire" because they are presumed to come under fire during a North Korean attack, thereby prompting U.S. intervention in South Korea's defense.

    The United States has about 37,000 troops stationed in South Korea, but has long kept fewer than 200 soldiers along the DMZ, at Observation Post Ouellette and Panmunjom, said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Deborah Bertrand, a spokeswoman for U.S. Forces Korea.

    Details on the timing of Ouellette's turnover and the eventual troop level at Panmunjom are still being decided in consultation with South Korea, Bertrand said, adding: "It will be this year."

    U.S. Gen. Leon J. LaPorte, joint commander of the U.S. Forces Korea and the United Nations. Command overseeing the cease fire that ended the 1950-53 Korean War, has briefed Congress on U.S. plans to give South Korea more autonomy in its defense.

    He said the "Republic of Korea will replace all United States personnel directly involved in security patrols, manning observation posts, and base operations support" along the DMZ, except for Panmunjom, where the United States will maintain command over a battalion of joint U.S.-South Korean forces.

    The United States is currently reviewing its military posture in South Korea as part of a global realignment overseen by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld who wants greater flexibility and more emphasis on technology and Special Forces.

    Earlier this year, the United States agreed to transfer about 7,000 U.S. forces and their families from its sprawling Yongsan Base in downtown Seoul.

    It has also decided to close half of its bases in South Korea — 28 combat and support facilities and three training ranges — and return more than half the land occupied by U.S. forces to South Korea by 2011.

    South Koreans have long complained that the U.S. military occupies prime real estate and that its bases near densely populated cities contribute to crime. But the majority support the presence as a deterrent against the North.
     
  2. Survalli
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    Survalli Guest

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    I believe the South Koreans are more then capable of defending themselves against the North.
     
  3. Gop guy
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    Of course they are.
     
  4. harrisonford
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    harrisonford Guest

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    We have been in Korea far to long for such a Gross Dollar Cost to the US people.

    Koera is well worth the money we spent on it, to save her, Korea.

    Korea is a big girl, we can defend it in say smaller ways now.

    Best wishes to the korea and their people, may the North see the light, .......... either when the atomic bomb goes off, or they make peace with the south.
     
  5. Johnney
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    Johnney Senior Member

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    ever been to korea and seen an anti US protest? not real cool when your outnumbered hundreds to one. that last line there sums it up for me; we'll do this for now, but we want to know your going to be there to hold our hands.
     
  6. Golden Arms
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    Golden Arms Rookie

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    Well, they don't want us there anyway...maybe they will think a bit differently when the American soldiers arent there to protect them.
     
  7. freeandfun1
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    freeandfun1 VIP Member

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    Johnney.... I travel to Korea often. There have also been large PRO-USA DEMONSTRATIONS in recent times (within the last two years).

    I was recently on the subway in Seoul and a gentleman walked up to me and asked, "are you an American?". At first, I didn't know what to say (fear) but then I said, "yes". He reached out, shook my hand and said, "thank you". It happened to me two more times during my trip there.

    I have been traveling to Korea for 20 years. I lived there for three. This is the FIRST time anything like this has happened to me. It was nice to see that not all the world is against us.

    They are a good partner in peace and I am glad to see that they are finally capable of taking the role they are.
     
  8. dmp
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    dmp Senior Member

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    Lots of the Pacific Theatre is re-organizing. Just wait...You'll be surprised. ;)
     
  9. freeandfun1
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    freeandfun1 VIP Member

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    You are very correct on that... It is a necessary, but dangerous move. We cannot forget that China is foaming at the mouth to take Taiwan and if they perceive that we are too busy in the ME to care about Taiwan, it might give China the idea that it is okay for them to take Taiwan. I also worry that NK might jump on the bandwagon and try taking the south.

    We have a very fine line to walk....

    A good friend of mine is now a full-bird and has been quoted on CNN a few times.... he is SF and was involved in the Philippines and what is going on there (that is one of the wars we don't hear much about and that we are kicking some butt in). That entire theater of operations is changing....
     
  10. dmp
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    dmp Senior Member

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    If it were dangerous, we wouldn't be changing. There will be adequate coverage...easily.

    :D
     

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