US withdrawal from Korea's DMZ could change border dynamic

Friday, June 6th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Seoul, South Korea-AP) -- Nobody's moved an inch yet, but analysts say South Koreans are already starting to worry about the announced U-S pullback from the Demilitarized Zone.

For decades, South Korea has regarded U-S troops along the border with North Korea as a "tripwire" -- a guarantee of immediate intervention if the North attacked.

A half-century after the war ended in an armistice -- not a peace treaty -- tensions remain high over Pyongyang's suspected development of nuclear weapons.

The Pentagon says it can better deter North Korea by moving troops farther south.

One analyst says some people think the U-S is preparing for a fast getaway if war breaks out.

But younger South Koreans, growing up amid economic comforts and a mood of reconciliation with North Korea, are less grateful for the American presence.