June 10, 2003
U.S. REDEPLOYMENT IN ASIA: A 'PARADIGM SHIFT IN
U.S. MILITARY THINKING'
** Reports of the
"overall realignment" spark regional concerns about "American
** Throughout Eurasia,
outlets oppose any "transformation" of ties with the U.S. that would
result in intensified military cooperation.
** The U.S. military shift
will end its "tripwire role" on the Korean peninsula.
** The redeployment
reflects a "U.S. fear" of China and its growing power.
The U.S. seeks to 'strengthen its forward position'-- The U.S. move is designed to "handle new
challenges" in the Asia-Pacific region, as "terrorist threats...have
escalated." A Russian daily called
the redeployment a "stark testament" to the U.S.' belief in the
"use of force," while a Malaysian writer denounced the "hawkish
leaders" in Washington who want the "annihilation of alleged
terrorists without dealing with the root cause of terrorism." Other papers cited the shift as proof of the
U.S.' "increasing dictatorship in this unipolar world." Downplaying the reports, the leftist Japan
Times added that "there is really less there than meets the
Countries will not accept new American bases 'willy-nilly'-- Regional papers focused on local issues and the
lack of prior consultations. Russian
papers called the planned "military expansion" to
"strategic" areas a "direct violation of the Russia-NATO
Founding Act." Melbourne's liberal Age
wondered if "enhanced military cooperation" with the U.S. would
"change perceptions of Australia."
The moderate Okinawa Times concluded there would be no "real
reduction of Okinawa's burden," while India's nationalist Amar Ujala
labeled the U.S. interest in setting up military bases in India "very
dangerous and disturbing."
The Korean picture will 'change drastically'-- Though split along ideological lines regarding
the U.S. redeployment in their country, South Korean dailies agreed that
"anti-American sentiment" was a key factor for the change. Moderates said the shift came "under the
framework of a new U.S. global strategy" reflecting its "overall
posture in Asia." Leftist voices
accused the U.S. of "looking out for only its own interests," as the
move undermines "efforts to peacefully resolve the North Korean nuclear
issue." But both nationalist Hankyoreh
Shinmun and moderate Hankook Ilbo saw the reshuffle giving Seoul
"greater autonomy"--an opportunity to "strengthen its
self-defense abilities and thus reduce its dependence on the U.S."
The U.S. 'strategic adjustment' aims at containing China-- Editorial outliers termed the planned U.S. shift
a "potential and practical siege against China." Beijing's official Global Times
remarked that the U.S. plan to "deploy more bases" in the region
would "add new destabilizing factors" to the Taiwan dispute. India's nationalist Amar Ujala said
U.S. allies who accept new bases are just "pawns in America's gameplan
EDITOR: Ben Goldberg
EDITOR'S NOTE: This
analysis is based on 22 reports from 8 countries over 30 May - 10 June
2003. Editorial excerpts from each
country are listed from the most recent date.
Oleg Shevtsov held in reformist youth-oriented Komsomol'skaya
Pravda (6/5): "Fighting a war
against Taliban in Afghanistan, Washington secured bases in Uzbekistan,
Turkmenistan and Kyrghyzstan, thereby completing military expansion in a
strategic area on the Caspian Sea rich in natural resources. As they did so the
Americans kept speaking of respect for Russia's strategic interests. Should they push further into the Middle
East, trying to tameIran and Saudi Arabia, Beijing and Moscow would find it
increasingly hard to influence the situation."
"Russia In A Ring Of Military Bases"
Igor Korotchenko wrote in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta
(6/4): "In a major operation, the
largest of its kind in postwar history, the U.S. administration is planning to
re-deploy its troops abroad, moving them closer to Russian borders, according
to reports in the world's media. Doing that would be a direct violation of the
Russia-NATO Founding Act.... Instead of
raising questions of importance to this country's interests in the Russia-NATO
Council, Russian diplomacy with Igor Ivanov at the head and Colonel General
Yuriy Baluyevskiy have been bustling uselessly over mythical cooperation with
the Alliance in the area of non-strategic missile
foreign-policy mistakes--the unmotivated withdrawal of the peacekeeping force
in the Balkans, the shutdown of bases in Cuba (Lurdes) and Vietnam (Kamran),
and acquiescence in U.S. military presence in ex-Soviet republics--have led to
a security vacuum which Washington seeks to fill. It is not ruled out that the Americans will
settle at Lurdes when Castro quits politics.
The latest events in Iraq and preparations for
armed action against Tehran are a stark testament that the use of
force (primarily by the Americans) remains a decisive factor in world
AUSTRALIA: “We Hope The
Truth Is Not In Transit Too”
The liberal Age asserted (6/5): “If there is a plan to deploy American forces
in Australia--whether in permanent bases or not--the Howard Government should
say so. Such enhanced military co-operation with the US may be justifiable, but
it would also go beyond the present framework of the alliance and would quite
likely change perceptions of Australia in the wider world. These are changes
that, if they are to happen, should be announced in Parliament and publicly
debated, not introduced by stealth through a gradual transformation of
Australian ports into regular military 'transit points'."
CHINA: “Decreasing Troops
In ROK And Japan And Increasing Southeast Asian Bases”
Meng Xiangqing commented in official Communist Party-run
international news publication Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao)(6/3): “9/11 provided the U.S. an opportunity to
return to South-East Asia and deploy more bases in the name of anti-terrorism. The U.S. strategic adjustment never aims at a
single goal, but multiple goals. The
U.S. planning new military redeployment in the Asian-Pacific area is a
significant measure to deter potential opponents; also to form a potential and
practical siege against China; and, add new de-stabilizing factors to the
settlement of the Taiwan issue.”
CHINA (HONG KONG & MACAU SAR):
"The Pentagon's Paradigm Shift In Asia"
Phar Kim Beng wrote in the leftist, Internet-only Asia Times
(6/10): "Last week's announcement
of a redeployment of US troops based in Korea was part of an overall
realignment of strategic troop placement in Asia.... All indications are, however, that the
Pentagon is in no hurry to carry out its plans.... Japan and Australia denied that the Pentagon
has any such plans, citing the absence of any mutual agreement, US Deputy
Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz told reporters that...while the account was
wrong on the exact number of troop deployments, it was 'broadly accurate' on
Pentagon plans. Since then stories of Pentagon's latest plans have expanded to
include references to India. That country, according to one Pentagon official,
lies 'at the center of Asia,' so it would be logical to locate some US troops
there too. While the Defense Ministry of India has yet to repudiate the report,
the flurry of news about Pentagon's plans are serving as the perfect grist for
the intelligence and defense community throughout the region.... Many US military installations remain just as
vulnerable as they were before the attacks of September 11, 2001, despite a
heightened awareness of terrorist threats....
The recent suicidal attacks in Riyadh and Casablanca, while not directed
at any military targets, brought home the real threat of a team of terrorists
shooting their way through, before detonating themselves.... If the Pentagon's plans in South Korea may be
proceeding swiftly, those in Southeast Asia have come under some disrepute.
Malaysia, which is afraid of an Islamic backlash against hosting a US military
presence, has opposed the initiative....
At any rate, if leaders in Southeast Asia should somehow feel that they
can squeeze more money and control out of the Bush administration, that is
given Washington's concern with terrorist attacks, the threat of North Korea,
indeed even the growing power of China, they had better reconsider. Their
leverage may not be much. While Pentagon does want more places for its troops,
it will not enter into any arrangement that might require the United States to surrender
too much control or taxpayers' dollars....
Despite the paradigm shift in US military thinking, it would not be
wrong to assume that the United States is willing to bide its time in order to
extract the best arrangement."
"Why U.S. Must Adjust Its Military Power In South Korea And
Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News editorialized
(6/9): "As soon as Bush came to
power, the U.S. prepared to re-deploy its military stationed in the
Asia-Pacific region.... In July 2001 the
Pentagon was to readjust the U.S. military presence in South Korea, closing
some remote non-essential bases to reduce those in South Korea from 41 to
26. Since September 11, the U.S. has
believed that terrorist acts will come mainly from the Middle East, Central and
Southeast Asia. The U.S.' biggest threat
in the Middle East was eliminated with the fall of the Saddam regime, but
terrorist threats in Central and Southeast Asia have escalated. The ethnic and religious conflicts in these
two regions are very complicated, and exacerbated by conflicts over the regions'
abundant oil and natural gas reserves.
In addition, Southeast Asian countries are still struggling for control
of islands in the South China Sea, and there still is danger of military
clashes across the Taiwan Strait. To
handle new challenges in the Asia-Pacific region, the U.S. must therefore
re-deploy its military power here and strengthen its forward position.... U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz
stressed that the redeployment of U.S. troops would not weaken the U.S. promise
for South Korean and Japanese security.
On the contrary, it will help reduce the U.S. military's influence on
local politics, removing growing anti-U.S. sentiment in Japan and South
"No Regional Security"
The independent English-language South China Morning Post
said in an editorial (6/1): "U.S.
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz...said yesterday President George W.
Bush's administration was committed to ensuring security and wanted to
temporarily station more troops in Asia as a deterrent. The U.S. military in South Korea also
announced plans to update its capability on the Korean peninsula with a U.S.$11
billion program over the next three years.
Such ideas are shunned by many of the region's leaders, most of them members
of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which maintains a decades-old
policy of protecting sovereign rights....
Tackling insecurity in an era where terrorist networks can so easily
cause destruction, or a nation willingly threatens regional stability, is too
difficult a proposition for a single government. While there may be disagreement among some
nations with the U.S. approach, the basics it espouses--co-operation to solve
global problems--is sound. Nations must
work together at all levels to allay the threats which in the past few years
have created uncertainty and instability."
Bases Is The Way To Abate The Burden"
Independent, moderate Okinawa Times declared (6/8): "In conversations with Japanese Prime
Minister Junichiro Koizumi, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo stated
that she had begun concrete preparations to accept U.S. military
exercises.... Koizumi welcomed the offer
by saying, 'It would be a good influence on Okinawa.' But there strong local doubts remain whether
such an outcome would be openly positive.
Each year, U.S. troops based in Okinawa currently engage in some 70-80
military exercises in foreign areas including the Philippines, South Korea as
well as our islands of Okinawa.
Looking at the current situation, one must think that what Koizumi and
Arroyo are saying would be 'burden abatement'
is not actually that at all. What
Okinawans are demanding is the reduction and rationalization of the bases. As long as transferring bases to other areas
inside or outside Japan, or moving exercise sites to other locations, does not
occur, there is no real reduction of Okinawa's burden. Arroyo's statement should perhaps be
understood as a demand for an increased U.S. troop presence to fight the Islamic
extremist Abu Sayyaf group.... We can
say that the Philippine government proposed accepting U.S. military exercises,
influenced by its own political situation, including its anti-extremist
policies. Even if the U.S. moves some
of its exercises to the Philippines, it is difficult to imagine any reduction
in incidents and accidents caused by U.S. troops, or damage caused by their
bases, unless the bases themselves are truly moved. Rather, we fear that the bases' capabiltities
will be strengthened. Corresponding with
the Philippine exercises involving U.S. troops based in Okinawa, U.S. military use of various civilian
airports in our islands has grown. U.S.
military helicopter flights are a new burden, and the fear has arisen that some
of these airports are becoming semi-permanent refueling stops. Regarding Okinawan 'burden abatement,' there
is no alternative besides a large-scale reduction in the number of troops and
the return of the bases."
"Force Restructuring Anxiety"
The independent, leftist Japan Times
declared (6/8): "There was a time
when the Pentagon saw 'relieving regional anxiety' as one of its primary
alliance maintenance tasks in East Asia. Today, it seems more adept at creating
this anxiety, rather than providing the reassurance that lies at the heart of
sustaining America's critical alliances in East Asia.... The Los Angeles Times article also
cites other (unnamed) senior Pentagon officials as stating that plans were 'on
the table' to move the bulk of Marine forces based in Okinawa to Australia, and
that Washington was 'seeking agreements to base Navy ships in Vietnamese waters
and ground troops in the Philippines.' Malaysia was also mentioned as one of
the places where Washington wanted to establish a 'network of small
bases'.... A reduction in Korea-based
forces 'is probably in the cards' as well....
There seems to be an attitude among some in the Pentagon that Seoul
needs to be 'taken to the woodshed' and punished for its anti-American
attitudes during the last election. This simplistic view overlooks the fact
that South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun has demonstrated great political
courage since his election by strongly supporting the alliance and U.S. troop
presence despite intense criticism....
Feeding South Korean suspicions about U.S. intentions undermines this effort.... As regards other projected movements, defense
establishments in most of the countries named have been quick to point out that
they have agreed to no such thing.... The
front pages of the region's newspapers was filled with reports of the real and
imagined restructuring plans, forcing Wolfowitz on the defensive from the
moment he arrived in Asia.... But even
if everyone's intentions were honorable, the comments reveal a glaring lack of
sensitivity to growing regional concerns about American unilateralism.... The truth about the story is that there is
really less there than meets the eye. Troop consolidation in Korea has been
talked about for some time and the effort to move U.S. forces out of the middle
of Seoul is 10 years old. So, too, is the idea about placing more focus on
access and mobility. What is new and
potentially significant, but largely overlooked, is the reported change in
attitude toward China. In the past, most statements coming from the Pentagon
seemed to focus on the need to counter a potential peer competitor."
"15,000 Marines To Be Moved To Australia?"
Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri stated (5/30): "According to the LA Times, the
U.S. military is considering moving about 15,000 of the approximately 20,000
Marines from Okinawa to Australia. The U.S. military is also considering
deploying troops in Singapore and Malaysia as part of a worldwide troop
realignment and the antiterrorism campaign....
A 'USG source' reportedly said the LA Times report is full of
speculation and there is no such detailed plan for withdrawing troops from
Japan. The source noted that any study of USFJ relocation would be made jointly
by the USG and GOJ."
"GOJ Dismisses LA Times Report"
Moderate Tokyo Shimbun added (5/30): "Even in the event of a large cutback of
Marines, the U.S. military will increase stockpiles of weaponry and other
equipment, making a rapid force deployment from Okinawa to a trouble spot
possible.... The Japanese government has
not received such information as reported by the LA Times. An aide close
to PM Koizumi also dismissed the LA Times report."
MALAYSIA: “U.S. Lies To
Show Its Power”
Government-influenced Malay-language Berita Harian declared
(6/3): "The U.S.' strategy of
redeploying and placing its military forces, stationed presently at Japan and
South Korea, to that of Southeast Asian countries confirms the speculation that
the superpower nation wants to guard its interests in the Asia Pacific
region. Malaysia has already voiced its
objection to the plan as proposed by the US deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul
Wolfowitz. However Singapore and the
Philippines, the closest US allies in the region, have stated their willingness
to have US presence in the region without considering the common interest in
ASEAN. As a result, ASEAN is divided
into two groupings: One Islamic and the other non-Islamic with Thailand not
declaring a preference. The White House
foreign policy is being dominated by hawkish leaders in US President Bush
administration who want nothing less than annihilation of alleged terrorists
without dealing with the root cause of terrorism."
"Uncle Sam’s Plans For The World"
Dr. Munir Majid wrote in government-influenced English-language New
Straits Times (6/2): "There is
no doubt you have to be engaged with the US.
It is the world's number one power, without challenge, but certainly
with expression. You cross Uncle Sam at
your peril. You are either in the
doghouse, or you, the dog, and the house are blown out of sight. Whichever, the expression of US foreign
policy has been uncompromising in its pursuit of American objectives. Prime Minister Mahathir is certainly not the flavour of the
month in Washington. The Americans,
however, must understand we are not anti-American, never have been, but we have
the sovereign right to hold to certain principles and to express them to
protect the interests of small countries such as ourselves.... At the end of the day, the US is allpowerful
and can choose to ignore what it wants. So there is no big deal about Malaysia
being able to do anything against the US, except rave and rant, as the
Americans see it. We are not a country
which says one thing and does another.
When we say we are against international terrorism, we act on it. But we have a different view on how best to
comprehensively defeat it. And we do not
believe in enlarging the fight to pursue strategic interests. If the Americans continue to pursue this
enlargement in an unconscionable manner, it would strain relations, however
fundamentally good and substantial they are.
To push out at the boundaries, to talk about American bases in Asia as
if every country has to willy-nilly accept them is not good form in a world of
sovereign states. Or have the Americans
forgotten that? Of course, in the final
analysis, we are more dependent on the Americans than they are on us, if at
"Protection From Prosecution"
The independent Manila Times observed (6/7): "Sen. Manuel Villar and Vice President
Teofisto Guingona complained that Secretary Blas Ople exceeded his authority
when he concluded with Secretary of State Colin Powell an executive agreement
to exempt Americans in the Philippines from possible prosecution by the
International Criminal Court.... This
means that the Philippine and the U.S. should get each other's consent before
Americans or Filipinos who may be in their territories are surrendered to the
ICC. It also means that their nationals
shall not be surrendered or transferred to a third country in order that they
might be brought to the ICC. These are
the key provisions of the Ople-Powell agreement. They are symmetrical and consistent with the
laws of either country. Why was the
agreement necessary? There's a law in
the U.S.--House Resolution 4775--that says:
'No military assistance may be provided to the government of a country
that is party to the ICC except a North Atlantic Treaty Organization
member-country and a major non-NATO ally including Australia, Egypt, Israel, Japan,
Jordan, Argentina, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand and Taiwan. However, subsection (C) of the Resolution
provides that ICC member-states may receive military assistance if they agreed
to prevent the ICC from prosecuting Americans who happen to be in their
countries. We can now ratify the Treaty
of Rome and at the same time receive American military assistance. It's a win-win solution, to borrow a favorite
phrase of a former president who dreaded zero-sum games."
"Reliving The past"
Luis Teodoro held in the liberal Today (6/7): "The Philippine government's decision to
sign a bilateral agreement with the United States giving soldiers immunity from
prosecution in the International Criminal Court (ICC) was not unexpected. But several concerns make it
disturbing.... The U.S. pledges of aid
in the form of military hardware that President Arroyo brought home from her
U.S. state visit can materialize only if the Philippines signed the
agreement.... Any future U.S. military
aid to this 'non-NATO ally' will depend on whether or not the Philippines
ratifies the Rome Statute--a compelling inducement to nonratification not only
by this administration but also by any future one. A second equally important concern is what
the bilateral agreement will mean if U.S. troops the Arroyo administration has
welcomed...commit in Philippine territory any of the crimes specified by the
ICC mandate. Should that happen, the
Philippines cannot complain before the ICC, and will have to rely on the
goodwill of the U.S. and its own capacity to prosecute the offender or
offenders which will in turn depend upon the terms of reference governing the
U.S. troop presence in the Philippines.
A third, though no less critical issue is the Philippines contributing
to the sum total of human misery by being part of the U.S. campaign to sabotage
the global effort to institutionalize the prosecution of war crimes, and thus
make them less likely.... In all the
years the U.S. military bases were in the Philippines, no U.S. soldier was ever
seriously tried in Philippine courts for any offense committed on Philippine
soil, including the shooting of scavengers, and even rape outside Clark and
Subic. Neither has any U.S. soldier ever
been tried in a U.S. court for such offenses.
But as if in warning of the possibilities as the Philippines renews and
strengthen military links with the United States, last year a U.S. soldier shot
a Filipino civilian in Mindanao during a search for Abu Sayyaf bandits--and was
promptly flown out of the country. The
agreement thus increases the possibility of this country's reliving its past
experiences with U.S. troops - the inevitable result of having leaders who
either can't remember history or have never quite understood its lessons."
SOUTH KOREA: "USFK Redeployment
Should Serve to Enhance ROK-U.S. Alliance"
Park Yong-ok opined in independent Dong-a Ilbo (6/10): "Considering that USFK realignment or
reduction is being pursued as part of U.S. efforts to reorganize its overseas
forces following the 9/11 terror attacks, the USFK issue should be seen as a
'military measure' that is being taken under the framework of a new U.S. global
strategy, not a subject for political compromise. Accordingly, we should not try to avoid or
delay the USFK issue but rather actively cooperate with the U.S. while
capitalizing on the U.S. move as an opportunity to enhance the ROK-U.S.
The independent, English-language Korea Herald stated
(6/10): "American forces in Korea
have been deployed the same way for five decades since the inconclusive end of
the Korean War.... This picture is about
to change drastically.... When the
redeployment is completed, the 2nd U.S. Infantry Division will occupy a new
base out of range of North Korean artillery in case of war. Its 'tripwire' role
in Korea's defense will be over. Paul
Wolfowitz, the deputy Pentagon chief, while visiting here, reassured Koreans
that the redeployment is part of an effort to strengthen the U.S.' overall
posture in Asia, affecting some 100,000 military personnel.... Revelation of the pullback scheme involving a
mainstay U.S. combat force coincided with the announcement of an $11 billion
USFK buildup plan focused on high-tech weaponry and intelligence-gathering
systems. This, together with Wolfowitz's open request for an increase in
Korea's defense budget, amounted to him admitting that the redeployment could
have a drawback on the combined Korea-U.S. defense posture.... Some are concerned about the impact on North
Korea of recent U.S. statements on the reinforcement and redeployment of the
USFK, and of Washington's accelerating the extention of the missile defense
network to this region. No doubt, the paranoid regime in the North will regard
these steps as evidence that the White House wants to use force to end
Pyongyang's nuclear program. Washington
hawks may envision that a mini arms race on the Korean peninsula may quicken
the demise of the Kim Jong-il regime, with its tottering economy. But such a
competition is more likely to spur the North to make all-out efforts to go
nuclear.... Our security officials are
regrettably not informing Koreans of what changes they should expect, or
instructing them on how to cope with the transition. Now that the United States has ignored their
plea that the latter maintain the tripwire, they should do more than just
asserting that the redeployment will not transpire soon, and that its execution
depends largely on Korea's cooperation."
"Beginning of USFK Withdrawal"
Kim Dae-chung maintained in conservative Chosun
Ilbo (6/10): "The relocations
and possible reductions of the U.S. troops stationed on the Korean Peninsula
are about to be implemented, and with them we will see a readjustment of the
role of the USFK.... A high-ranking
Pentagon official I talked to recently strongly denied that these moves have
anything to do with anti-Americanism in South Korea or a retreat from
American's Northeast Asia policies....
The issue, no doubt, is at least partly related to the global
anti-American sentiment that Americans are now coming to grips with. American
intellectuals, after the 9-11 attacks and the Iraq War, started questioning why
America intervenes in other countries' affairs and ends up getting bashed for
it. They ask where the America is that people saw as the symbol of democracy
and freedom. They ask where the just and brave country is that helped poor
countries. They ask why the United States is perceived now as an imperial and
egocentric force that seems to only want to dominate and rule. The roots of debates like these lie in that
segment of U.S. public opinion that doubts the need to deal with external
problems that don't directly threaten the country's survival. That sort of
thinking wants U.S. forces all over the world, that act as the vanguard of U.S.
interventions, to be readjusted in order to reduce frictions, so that the
United States can be more effective in its role as the police of the
world. The conditions are ideal for the
Americans to try such a move in South Korea. First, a huge increase of
unfavorable sentiment toward the United States pitched up last year, along with
the overt anti-American movement.... Now
the Pentagon can openly state what it is displeased with--its difficulties in securing
facilities and land for smooth operations and acceptable housing--and if the
host country fails to provide them, the troops will leave. The United States may be treating South Korea
as a proving ground for this strategy, and South Korea certainly provided
Washington with the perfect excuses and justifications to do so. But I wonder
if we are prepared for this kind of big change."
"Realignment Of The USFK Must Not Hurt Korea's Security"
Moderate Hankook Ilbo contended (6/9): " The realignment of the 2nd Infantry
Division of the USFK will greatly change Korea's security environment. The
relocation of the 2nd ID was decided at the request of the US.... And although the US desire for a realignment
of the 2nd ID is understandable, the Korean people could end up
misunderstanding the intentions of the US. The US-ROK combined forces have been
the symbol of the two countries' alliance for the past 50 years. Removing the 2nd ID from the duties of
defending the DMZ could hurt Koreans' sense of security.... It is true that the reallocation could bring
a positive result to Korea, such as giving the country greater autonomy in
defending itself. However, at this current point, we must not forget that the
defense capabilities of the ROK-US joint forces are the backbone of Korea's
"Reallocation Of The 2nd ID Will Take Place As The U.S.
Nationalist left-leaning Hankyoreh Shinmun opined
(6/7): "The relocation of the 2nd
ID of the USFK is an important matter that was discussed during the US-ROK
summit. However, it has been less than a month since the two leaders discussed
this issue and already an agreement has been made to send the 2nd ID to the
south of the Han River. This decision is expected to raise criticism that the
Ministry of Defense gave in to the unilateral demands of the US to realign the
infantry division.... Also, some
speculate that the realignment was pursued in line with the United States's
intention to strike against North Korea, thus raising fear among the Korean
people. It is indeed regrettable that the US is looking out for only its own
interests without taking into account the concerns of the Korean people.
However, it is true that Korea has no choice but to follow the United States's
decisions concerning the reallocation of USFK.... Therefore, what Korea must do is to
strengthen its self-defense abilities and thus reduce its dependence on the
U.S.... At the same time, it must make
greater efforts to eradicate the risk of a war on the Korean Peninsula."
“USFK Realignment is Alarming”
Nationalist, left-leaning Hankyoreh Shinmun
editorialized (6/5): “The U.S. move to
realign its forces stationed in the ROK runs counter to the spirit of the
ROK-U.S. joint statement that made clear that both countries should pursue USFK
realignment taking careful account of the political, economic, and security
situation on the peninsula and in Northeast Asia. Furthermore, the U.S. move could push the
situation toward military confrontation, undermining efforts to peacefully
resolve the North Korean nuclear issue.
We suspect that the U.S. might be seeking USFK realignment with an eye
to using force against Pyongyang. In
order to defuse these Korean concerns, we urge Washington to halt its attempt
to realign USFK and to participate actively in negotiations on the nuclear
"Permission For Military Base"
Nationalist, Hindi-language Amar Ujala
observed (6/10): ""Going
beyond the joint exercises, the US has now showed its interest in setting up
military bases in India. This is very dangerous and disturbing.... The US has a tendency to devour everything it
sees, and there are enough terrible examples of its increasing dictatorship in
this unipolar world. In this situation, giving permission to set up military
bases not only put our sovereignty at stake, but we will also be walking into a
trap.... Among other reasons, this move
can also be seen as one to reassure Pakistan's safety. A Pentagon report says that military presence
in India will be important in case relations with Asia ever turn sour. It shows
the US fear of China. But, why should we become pawns in America's gameplan
against China? Also, the US is wary of
our improving ties with China."