The American Defence Secretary, Mr. Melvin Laird, today (Monday) began two-day defence talks with the?
The American Defence Secretary, Mr. Melvin Laird, today (Monday) began two-day defence talks with the South Korean government. Mr. Laird arrived in South Korea yesterday from Tokyo and immediately visited American and Korean troops below the demilitarized zone.
He flew by helicopter first to the headquarters of the 2nd Infantry Division just below the western sector of the demilitarized zone. These are the last Americans manning part of the 151-mile border. South Korean forces took over most the American role as a result of the United States' military cutback this year which left 43,000 American troops behind.
The American Defence Secretary saw troops in action on the big guns facing the border line during his tour of the base.
Later he flew by helicopter to an observation post and looked into the north through binoculars across the wire fence marking the southern boundary of the demilitarised zone.
In talks in Seoul today with President Park, the two men are expected to assess the latest developments in the region, including the American attitude towards Taiwan and the reversion of Okinawa to Japan next year. They will also discuss plans for modernising South Korea's 600,000-strong armed forces as promised by the United States to make up for its troop withdrawals from the Korean Peninsula.