South Korea, the Coalition Pahdna with the third-largest contingent of boots on the ground in Iraq (after the U.S. and U.K.) is contemplating reducing its committment to the March of Freedom in retaliation for U.S. favoritism towards Japan.
South Korean military leaders in Iraq have recommended that Seoul consider gradually reducing its forces in the north of the country, starting late this summer, sources in the government and Uri Party said yesterday. The Korean military has concluded that Iraqis will be capable of assuming a larger security role as early as August.
The sources said the Roh administration has seized on the suggestion as a way to express dissatisfaction over what it views as U.S. favoritism for Japan.
“The United States has chosen Japan as its proxy to control the growing Chinese influence in the region,” a top Uri Party official said. “The United States has given full support to Japan, including Tokyo’s bid to become a UN Security Council member. That is the background of why Tokyo is pushing its territorial claims over Dokdo against Seoul, and why Washington is silent about it.”
Uri representative Woo Won-shik said, “We have nothing to gain by deploying the troops in Iraq for a long time. I support the reduction.”
“To show that South Korea-U.S. relations are not unilateral, we should withdraw, or at least reduce the forces,” Uri Representative Im Jong-in said.