A flurry of activities relating to Japanese-South Korean relations is taking place in Tokyo this week.
A flurry of activities relating to Japanese-South Korean relations is taking place in Tokyo this week. A large South Korean parliamentary delegation is currently visiting Japan and South Korean Foreign Minister Park Tong Jin arrives on Friday (18 February) for talks with his Japanese counterpart.
SYNOPSIS: The 42-member South Korean delegation is led by former Prime Minister Kim Chong Pil and on Wednesday (16 February) the delegates met with their Japanese counterparts, including Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda. The chief topic of discussion between the two countries is the proposed phased withdrawal of 20,000 United States ground forces from the Korean peninsula.
A large contingent of U.S. troops has been stationed in Korea for over 25 years, since the Korean war. Mr. Fukuda was told of the withdrawal plans by U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale and is expected to brief the South Koreans on the subject. The U.S. plan does not involve the withdrawal of air support presently stationed on the Korean peninsula -- and even without the ground forces about 20,000 U.S. military personnel will remain.
South Korea has not commented on the U.S. proposal, but observers say that the Seoul government is worried about moves which might upset the present equilibrium on the peninsula.