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11

South Korea Commits Fresh Batch of Troops

Thousands to be sent to Iraq with waivering support from home....

South Korea has announced that it willl send 3,600 troops to one of two Kurdish autonomous regions in northern Iraq as suggested by the United States.

South Korea and the United States agreed to choose between Sulaimaniyah and Irbil for the deployment of the fresh Korean troops, said Brig-Gen Nam Nam Dae-yeon, spokesman at the Defence Ministry.

The sides "decided to select the final deployment site through close consultations as soon as possible after the South conducts on-the-spot checks" on the two regions, Nam said in a statement.

In response to a US request, South Korea had planned to deploy 3,600 troops in the northern Iraqi town of Kirkuk by April under an independent operational command. The plan, however, was cancelled due to a US demand for "joint offensive operations" in the region.

South Korea still plans to send its troops to Iraq but deploy them in a new region where they can operate independently under their own command. South Korean officials have said the change will force the troop deployment to be delayed by about two months.