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North Korea Demands US Troops Pull Out Of South

File photo: A South Korean soldier (R) talks with a US soldier as they prepare a landing operation during a joint military exercise at Mallipo beach in Taean, 170km southwest of Seoul, March 2006. Photo courtesy of AFP.
by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) Aug 13, 2006
North Korea urged South Korea Sunday to push for the withdrawal of US troops and said the military presence could bring disaster. The communist state's Minju Joson newspaper said the South would "not be free from any misfortune and disasters" arising from the US military presence which dates back to the 1950-1953 Korean War.

"The South Korean authorities should take a step to force the US troops to withdraw from South Korea as demanded by the people," Minju Joson said.

The United States is reducing its forces in South Korea from 37,000 to 25,000, with 2008 set as the deadline for the troop cut, and wants to be able to redeploy them outside the country in time of need.

South Korea is pushing to secure wartime control over its troops which are currently under a US-led combined command.

US troops are stationed in the South to help its 650,000-strong army face up to North Korea's 1.2 million-strong army.

Rodong Sinmun, newspaper of the North's communist party newspaper, repeated Sunday that US "imperialists" were preparing an invasion by stepping up propaganda and military drills.

"They are engrossed in a vicious anti-DPRK (North Korea) smear campaign based on sheer lies. ... It is an operation to be carried out by them prior to invading it by force of arms," Rodong said.

"These reckless moves against the DPRK have created such a tense situation on the Korean Peninsula that a war may break out there any moment."

The United States has flatly denied planning to go to war against North Korea despite a long-running standoff over its nuclear and missile development programs.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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