Korea: July 24, 2003

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 The US is demanding that the South Korean military take over responsibility for many functions that the American military had always taken care of. Many of these items, like responsibility for security around the "truce village" on the DMZ, are largely symbolic. But others will cause the South Koreans to spend a lot of money, like taking responsibility for dealing with North Korean commandos in wartime and providing radars, computers, guns and aircraft to deal with North Korean artillery ("counterbattery fire"). The US wants South Korea to take over all these functions by 2006. Many South Koreans are in favor of South Korea taking responsibility for many key military functions. But many politicians realize that this will mean spending a lot of money to replace American troops and weapons. Some South Koreans also felt more confident when Americans were in charge of key military functions, as government corruption and ineptness is common in South Korea (including the military.) The shift in responsibility is part of a policy that will move most American troops south from the DMZ, and out of range of North Korean artillery.

 

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