U.S. asking Seoul for troops for IraqThe United States has asked South Korea to send additional troops to Iraq for a UN forces’ peacekeeping mission, Seoul officials said yesterday.
“The United States, through unofficial channels, recently requested that South Korea cooperate by dispatching additional troops to Iraq,” Brigadier General Hwang Young-soo, spokesman of the Ministry of National Defense, said yesterday. “The government will make a decision based on public opinion and the development of international affairs,” he said.
South Korea sent engineering and medical units to Iraq in April. About 302 soldiers and officers are now working on the ground in Iraq.
Lee Soo-hyuck, deputy foreign minister, also confirmed the U.S. request yesterday. “When Richard Lawless, deputy assistant secretary of defense of the United States, visited Seoul last week for the defense policy talks, he had asked an additional troops to be sent to Iraq,” Mr. Lee said.
“The United States did not specifically asked for combat forces,” a Roh administration official said on the condition of anonymity. But he said that the additional forces requested by Washington would be responsible for keeping public order, and that their missions would inevitably include some combat operations.
by Lee Young-jong
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