SKorea vows to send troops despite kidnap

June 21, 2004 at 3:08 AM

SEOUL, June 21 (UPI) -- South Korea said Monday it would go ahead with plans to send troops to Iraq despite the abduction of a South Korean man by an insurgent group.

"There is no change in the government's spirit and position that it will send troops to Iraq to help establish peace and rebuild Iraq," Deputy Foreign Minister Choi Young-jin said at a news conference.

The government would do its best to seek the release of Kim Sun-il, 33, an employee of South Korea's Gana General Trading Co., a supplier for the U.S. military, Choi said after a meeting of the presidential National Security Council.

Choi said Kim had been kidnapped in Fallujah on June 17, the day before South Korea announced its final plan to send some 3,600 troops to assist in reconstruction efforts in northern Iraq.

The deployment would make South Korea the largest coalition partner in Iraq after the United States and Britain.

The Iraqi militant group threatened to behead the South Korean captive if Seoul refuses to pull its troops from Iraq, saying it would give South Korea 24 hours to meet its demand.

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