S. Korea asked to command troops in Iraq

Sept. 18, 2003 at 6:22 PM

SEOUL, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- The United States has reportedly asked South Korea to take command of a multinational division in Iraq.

The Korea Times said the request came Thursday from U.S Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary Richard Lawless during a Washington meeting with South Korea's opposition party leader.

Lawless reportedly told visiting Grand National Party Chairman Choe Byung-yul the United States wants Korea to take a major role in the post-war peace-building mission in Iraq.

Choe's spokesman, Park Jin, told the Korea Times, "Lawless said his request for the troop dispatch made to South Korea earlier this month included the South Korean troops assuming a central role in commanding and managing an army division of multinational forces."

If Seoul goes along with the U.S. request, it would mark the first time South Korea has taken the helm of a multinational army division in a conflict outside the Korean peninsula.

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