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Pyongyang Demands US Troop Pullout From South Korea

Seoul (AFP) Dec 05, 2005
North Korea on Sunday demanded the United States withdraw its troops from South Korea, in a renewed campaign by the Stalinist state to drive a wedge in the US-South Korean alliance.

Some 32,500 US soldiers are stationed here to help South Korean military troops face up to North Korea's 1.2-million-strong army under a mutual defense treaty dating back to the 1950-1953 Korean War.

"This is a leftover of the Cold War era, the era of North-South confrontation," Rodong Sinmun, the North's key mouthpiece and ruling communist party newspaper, said in a Sunday dispatch monitored here.

"The US should get rid of its old conception of the Cold War era and make a bold decision to withdraw its troops from South Korea without delay as required by the times and aspired by all the Koreans."

The two Koreas, which have yet to sign a peace treaty since the war, have expanded economic exchanges since their leaders held an inter-Korean summit in 2000 to push for peaceful reunification.

But they have taken no meaningful steps to ease military tensions.

In recent years, US-South Korean ties have been strained due to differences over how to rein in North Korea from developing nuclear weapons and how to reshape the US-South Korean military alliance.

The United States is in the process of reducing its forces on the Korean peninsula from 37,000 troops to 25,000 by 2008 and withdrawing them from the frontline with North Korea to bases south of Seoul.

Seoul wants greater control over its own troops. Under the mutual defense pact, South Korean forces come under US command in times of war.

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US And North Korea Must Settle Sanctions Dispute Says South Korea
Seoul (AFP) Dec 05, 2005
South Korea's top nuclear negotiator said Monday that tension over US sanctions imposed on North Korea over alleged money laundering and counterfeiting must be quickly addressed to allow six-nation talks to go ahead.

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