Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

DATE=8/30/2000
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
TITLE=NORTH KOREA / U-S TROOPS (L)
NUMBER=2-265965
BYLINE=ALISHA RYU
DATELINE=HONG KONG
CONTENT=
VOICED AT:
INTRO:   South Korean President Kim Dae-jung says that 
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has agreed to a 
continued U-S troop presence on the Korean peninsula - 
even after reunification. VOA's Alisha Ryu in our Asia 
News Center reports Mr. Kim's comments confirm recent 
news reports on this sensitive issue.   
TEXT:  President Kim says that the North Korean leader 
and he are in full agreement on the need for U-S 
troops to keep the peace in Northeast Asia, even if 
the two Koreas reunite.  In an interview with the 
Washington Post Tuesday, Mr. Kim says he received that 
assurance during his conversations with Kim Jong Il at 
their historic June summit meeting in Pyongyang.   
The South Korean president says the North Korean 
leader went so far as to call U-S troop presence 
"desirable" and agreed that the troops would deter 
China, Japan and Russia from seeking regional 
hegemony.  Mr. Kim says that several years ago, North 
Korea even sent a high-level envoy to the United 
States to say Pyongyang would no longer make the 
withdrawal of U-S troops from South Korea a 
prerequisite for reunification. 
North Korea had always insisted, publicly at least, 
that reunification could not take place until all 37-
thousand American troops currently stationed in South 
Korea were withdrawn.  Pyongyang regularly referred to 
them as an "occupation army" and sometimes demanded 
their removal as a condition for improved relations 
with Washington and Seoul.
The rapid thaw in relations between the communist 
North and South Korea since the landmark summit have 
raised questions on the future of U-S troops in Korea, 
who have helped keep the uneasy peace between the two 
sides since the Korean War ended in an armed truce in 
1953.   
Some South Korean groups have recently led public 
protests, demanding a reduction in forces.  But the 
United States and South Korea are eager to keep the 
troops in place to discourage a regional power 
struggle.  (Signed) 
NEB/HK/AR/JO 
30-Aug-2000 04:20 AM LOC (30-Aug-2000 0820 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
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