US ends military presence in Seoul -- a boost for Korean peace?
Seoul, June 29: The US made its first steps towards walking the talk of its president, Donald Trump, who has shown a leaning towards removing American troops from South Korea by ending its military presence in Seoul, the capital of its Asian ally, and moving the soldiers to a new headquarters opened farther away from the South's border with North Korea - the regional threat with which major powers are now engaging for achieving peace in the Korean Peninsula.
The move thus formally ends seven decades of US military presence in Seoul, the Associated Press reported. The move is no less significant for it shuts yet another chapter of the Cold War legacy.
On Friday, June 29, the US military was set to hold an opening ceremony for its new base at an expanded facility located to the south of Seoul, the AP report added.
US troops were stationed in Seoul after they first arrived in the country in 1945 to disarm Japan after the conclusion of World War II. In the later years, the American military' presence became more symbolic of the alliance between Washington and Seoul, especially during and after the Korean War which had started five years after the end of the Second World War and is yet technically on. One of North Korea's major irritations has been this alliance which even made some South Koreans displeased.
President Trump has always been critical of the arrangement of maintaining American forces in the Korean Peninsula for he felt it was too expensive to maintain the troops in the region and even intended to see the US's allies like South Korea and Japan making their own security arrangements. But for Seoul and Tokyo, such a proposition looked less convincing against the threats posed by a nuclear North Korea.
The relocation of the troops was due to take place way back in 2008 but was postponed several times, AP added. Though the troops were not sent out of South Korea, but at least their mobilisation away from the North Korean border is expected to boost the prospects of a tranquil Korean Peninsula and show that President Trump means business.