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    U.S. Under-Secretary of State Philip Habib and General George Brown, Chairman of The Joint Chiefs?

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    U.S. Under-Secretary of State Philip Habib and General George Brown, Chairman of The Joint Chiefs of Staff, met with President Park Chung-Hee of South Korea on Wednesday (25 May) to discuss U.S. plans to withdraw ground troops from the Korean peninsula.

    During the three hours of talks at the Blue House in Seoul, President Park reportedly accepted as an "accomplished fact" President Carter's plan to withdraw the 33,000 American ground troops from South Korea over four or five years.

    A presidential spokesman said Mr. Park stressed that the troop pullback should be preceded by supplementary measures to maintain the deterrent to ensure peace in Korea and build up the South Korean forces to keep the military balance on the Korean peninsula.

    He was quoted as telling the two U.S. presidential envoys, "Supplementary measures first, and withdrawal next is our basic policy and it is our hope that this will be implemented."
    Mr. Habib and General Brown, who arrived in Seoul on Tuesday (24 May), pledged support for South Korea's own plans to become self-reliant.

    They also reiterated the U.S. commitment under the Mutual Defence Treaty and assured President Park that the U.S. air force would remain in South Korea.

    The U.S. presidential envoys will also hold talks with Foreign Minister Park Tong-Jin and Defence Minister Suh Jyong-Chul during their three-day stay in Seoul.

    They will leave South Korea for Japan on Friday (27 May) for similar consultations with the Japanese government.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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