Skip to comments.U.S. expert calls for increasing American troop presence in S. Korea to stop NK provocations
Posted on 12/14/2010 12:15:24 AM PST by TigerLikesRooster
U.S. expert calls for increasing American troop presence in S. Korea to stop NK provocations
By Chang Jae-soon
SEOUL, Dec. 14 (Yonhap) -- The United States should seriously think about stationing more troops in South Korea to deter further North Korean provocations, a U.S. expert and former White House security official said Tuesday amid high tensions over the North's artillery shelling of a South Korean island.
"The single most important indicator, symbolic and significant indicator of U.S. commitment, security commitment to South Korea, has been its troop presence on the peninsula," Georgetown University professor Victor Cha said during a speech at the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
"Even a symbolic increase in that troop presence will send a very clear message to North Korea and to China that there are real costs to continued North Korean provocations," he told a forum of South Korean business leaders.
Cha, one of the best-known security experts on Korea, had served as the Asian affairs director at the White House's National Security Council in the previous U.S. administration and as a U.S. negotiator in six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear programs.
About 28,500 American troops are stationed in South Korea to deter threats from the communist North, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War that ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, leaving the two sides still technically at war.
Tensions on the divided peninsula have spiked after the North's Nov. 23 shelling of the South's Yeonpyeong Island, which killed four people, including two civilians. The artillery attack came eight months after the North torpedoed a South Korean warship, killing 46 sailors.
Pyongyang has also ratcheted up nuclear tensions last month with revelations that it has a facility to enrich uranium that can be used to fuel atomic bombs if highly enriched. The uranium program gives North Korea a second way of making nuclear weapons after its plutonium-based program.
Cha praised the measures the current U.S. government has taken to deter North Korea following the island shelling, such as holding joint military exercises with South Korea more frequently, bolstering trilateral relations with South Korea and Japan, and calling on China to exercise its influence over North Korea.
But he also suggested other options to discourage North Korea from provocations, including increasing American troop levels in South Korea and getting the U.N. Security Council to adopt a resolution authorizing the use of force against the North.
"A U.N. Security Council resolution that authorizes the use of force in response to further North Korean attacks would be something new and it would be a clear sign that the U.N. stands behind the United States and South Korea," Cha said.
"The United States and South Korea are not obligated to act on that resolution but having the resolution in place will send a very clear signal to countries about how serious the situation is."
Cha said the recently concluded free trade agreement between Seoul and Washington would also help enhance relations between the two countries, saying the accord is not simply a trade deal, but it will have wider impacts on relations between the two allies.
The "negotiations were negotiated by trade people. But the argument for its passage in the Congress will be a strategic argument. I don't think it will just be trade and jobs argument," he said.
"Whether it's Vice President (Joseph) Biden or Secretary of State (Hillary) Clinton, when they start calling up congressmen and senators about the need to get this agreement passed, they will talk about it not just as a trade agreement, but as something we need to tighten the relationship even more in the face of North Korean threats."
On the power transition in North Korea, Cha expressed strong skepticism that Kim Jong-un, the foreign-educated youngest son of leader Kim Jong-il, will carry out any reforms. North Korea has made the junior Kim a four-star general and given him senior Workers' Party titles in steps to put him in place to take over after his father.
"I think the more people have looked at this, the more that they have reached the conclusion that the young North Korean leader is not likely to bring major change or major reform to the North Korean system," the expert said, citing fears about regime survival as one of the reasons.
"Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un both know that reform is essential to the North Korean system, that the North Korean system will not survive unless it reforms," Cha said.
"The dilemma that they face is any effort at reform will ultimately lead to the collapse of political control. And that is simply a trade-off that the current or future government are not willing to make."
She sounds so robotic rolling off all those puffed up titles of the Great Leader before each and every report about one of his pathetic "on the spot" guidances.
Also, do the really realize how foolish, amateurish and desperate they look in the eyes of the whole world with a 15-minute report at the top of the hour about Kim Jong-il visiting the site of some run of the mill highrise apartments in Pyongyang under construction, and giving orders with his ridiculous poking finger aimed at the guys pouring cement or installing drywall?
Where are the troops going to come from?
With a 10 Division Regular Army and a Three MEF Marine Corps, we just don’t have the horses to get it done, not with two major deployments going on at the moment.
Even if the troops existed, we don’t have the logistics to support them.
The ROK is on it’s own on this one unless they accept help from the IJSDF, which is really unlikely.