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Freedom and Tyranny is Light and Dark in Korea

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 24, 2003 – A satellite picture in Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's office starkly illustrates the difference between North and South Korea.

The nighttime picture shows no lights north of the Demilitarized Zone except for the area around the capital, Pyongyang. In the south, the land is ablaze. "What a difference between freedom and oppression, in one the light of liberty outshines everything and in the other, the darkness of the dictatorship is so obvious even from so many miles in outer space," Rumsfeld said at the U.S./Korean Business Council luncheon here yesterday.

The secretary said the Republic of Korea illustrates the connection between security and prosperity. Keeping the Korean peninsula secure will require change, he said. "Together we've undertaken an important joint review of our military posture with an eye toward how best to take advantage of the new technologies and capabilities and strengthen our deterrence for the 21st century security environment," he said.

The secretary said it is important to transform the combined forces to meet the threats of the future. "We've pledged to work together to employ new technologies and capabilities to transition to a more capable and sustainable U.S. military presence on the peninsula," he said.

The secretary said taking advantage of new technologies and capabilities will improve U.S. and South Korean abilities to counter North Korea's advantages. "By improving the force structure of both our countries, we can reduce unnecessary burdens on both sides and invest in these improved capabilities, he said.

The proposals include expanding the role South Korean forces play in defending the peninsula, consolidating U.S. forces in South Korea around several key hubs, and relocating the U.S. garrison in Seoul.

"While the size and shape of the U.S. footprint in the world and the region may evolve ... there certainly would be no change at all in our commitment to the defense of South Korea, and just let there be no doubt about that," he said. "Our goal is to reinforce deterrence and to position the alliance for the period ahead."

Rumsfeld said the United States appreciates South Korea's assistance in the global war on terrorism and for its help in Afghanistan and Iraq. "It certainly demonstrates the spirit of the Korean people; they know well the value of democracy and the importance of victory over aggression and tyranny," he said.

The Korean people can stand as an example to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, Rumsfeld said. At the end of the Korean War in 1953, the Republic of Korea was a gutted shell. Now it is the 12th largest economy in the world. "Your republic provides an excellent example of what Iraq and Afghanistan conceivably could become with patience and perseverance," he said.

Rumsfeld said in the next four years, the United States will make substantial investments in the alliance. Plans call for strengthening more than 150 combined military capabilities.

"And we've been assured that Korea will complement those investments with improved capabilities of their own. These parallel investments demonstrate not only the partnership between our two countries, but also our determination to do what's necessary to ensure deterrence, security and stability on the peninsula," he said.

Rumsfeld said he is convinced that some day North Korea will be free and the two countries will reunite.

"When President Bush visited the DMZ in February of last year, he talked about America's vision for all the Korean people," Rumsfeld said. "He said that we see a peninsula that one day is united in commerce and in cooperation, not divided by barbed wire or fear. Korean grandparents spending their final years with those they love, Korean children thriving not starving while an army is fed. Stability built on the reconciliation of its two halves.

"But until that day," he continued, "we have to continue to do what we must do; we have to build on the strong relationship between our two countries; we have to continue to strengthen security and promote peace and prosperity; and we have to hope to see the people of the north brought in to the light of liberty at some point in the future."

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