U.S. says it will shift troops in South Korea

Friday, July 23rd 2004, 7:51 pm
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ U.S. and South Korean officials have agreed on a plan to relocate all 8,000 U.S. military personnel in Seoul to another city south of the capital, the Pentagon announced Friday.

The personnel will move to the Pyongtaek area, about 50 miles south of Seoul, by the end of 2008, the Pentagon said in a statement.

In addition, the two governments have agreed to move soldiers from the 2nd Infantry Division, located between Seoul and the border with North Korea, south to Pyongtaek, but no timetable for the move has been determined, the Pentagon said.

The decision was reached during a round of U.S.-South Korean talks held in Washington this week.

``This relocation agreement helps us meet our enduring commitment to the defense of Korea and to the security and stability of the region,'' said Richard Lawless, deputy under secretary of defense for Asia Pacific affairs, in a statement.

The Pentagon has said it would consolidate U.S. forces in Iraq and allow South Korea to manage more of its own defenses against its communist northern neighbor.