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U.S. to Move Troops Away from North Korean Border - 2003-06-05

On the Korean peninsula, the United States and South Korea have agreed to move thousands of U.S. soldiers away from the border with North Korea. VOA-TV’s Jim Bertel reports, the move is part of a U.S. plan to create a more flexible force.

Defense officials from both countries say U.S. Troops will be moved in stages South of Seoul. The withdrawal marks the first time since the end of the Korean War 50 years ago that U.S. Military bases will not be near the demilitarized zone. The United States will continue its military presence in the D.M.Z. through training. The move is part of a U.S. Defense plan to create a more mobile and flexible force in Asia.

Meanwhile in Tokyo, Southeast Asian leaders say the ongoing crisis over North Korea’s nuclear program could be resolved by dealing with the North’s economic problems.

Philippine President Gloria Arroyo told a regional symposium that a true resolution of the problem will require compromise on all sides.

"North Korea must build up its economy, and build down its military capability, particularly its nuclear weapons capability. I believe I stand with the leaders of the region who are deeply concerned. We will do our role to ensure peace and stability, and work to help North Korea integrate into the regional and global economy.”

Thailand’s Prime Minster Thaksin Shinawatra struck a similar note, saying solving North Korea’s poverty is the key to encouraging Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear ambitions.