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U.S. Troops Needed in Korea

September 22, 1996

The future of the Korean Peninsula is still shrouded in a haze of political and military uncertainties. Hwal Woong Lee (letter, Sept. 8) purports that the continuing presence of U.S. troops in South Korea is an unwelcome hindrance to the peaceful unification of South and North Korea. History, along with recent North Korean actions, such as the armed intrusions into the DMZ and Panmunjom truce village, not to mention its nuclear weapons development program, provides strong lessons about the complex political and military situation that continues to exist on the Korean Peninsula. The political system and economy of North Korea have yet to be fully stabilized following the end of the Cold War and especially following the death of North Korean President Kim Il Sung more than two years ago.

U.S. soldiers have served as a stabilizing force over the past 42 years for both South and North Korea, as well as for the thriving Northeast Asian region. Ever since the North Korean invasion in June 1950, North Korea has continued to develop long-range missiles and other weapons of mass destruction. The presence of U.S. forces in South Korea helps to deter potential North Korean aggression.

South Korea has taken positive steps to realize the desired goal of unification. These include the promotion of South-North political dialogue, the provision of humanitarian aid and the facilitation of trade. The South Korean people, who live on the front line, want the tensions and military threats to be reduced and eliminated. The highly publicized recent demonstrations by a small radical core of students who demanded the removal of U.S. forces and the signing of a peace treaty between the U.S. and North Korea do not reflect the majority opinion in Korea.

CHANG KEE SUNG, Consul

South Korean Consulate

Los Angeles

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