SEOUL — A delegation of South Korean military negotiators has left Seoul and is set to continue troop reduction talks with their U.S. counterparts in Washington, D.C., officials said Monday.

The two sides are to meet this week for the 12th round of Future of the Alliance, or FOTA, talks, to discuss a U.S. proposal to remove 12,500 troops from South Korea. The initial U.S. proposal called for the reduction to be completed by the end of 2005; the Koreans have asked for at least a one-year extension beyond that.

Officials from both sides have said they hope to reach a final agreement during next month’s Security Consultative Meeting between U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and South Korean Minister of National Defense Yoon Kwang-ung.

“This week’s talks are a preparation for the SCM. I believe the reduction of U.S. forces in South Korea will be discussed at (this week’s) talks,” an MND spokesman said Monday.

Joint committee meets to discuss accident response

A U.S.-Japanese committee, created in the wake of a controversial Marine helicopter crash, has agreed to draft recommendations about how the two countries should handle U.S. military accidents in Japan.

The Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Accident Site Cooperation, created by the United States and Japan Bilateral Joint Committee, held its first meeting Friday. The two nations set up the subcommittee after the Aug. 13 crash of a U.S. Marines helicopter in Okinawa Prefecture.

At the meeting, “Japan and the United States exchanged views on how to proceed,” Capt. Richelle Dowdell, a U.S. Forces Japan spokeswoman, said Monday. “In addition, they reviewed current U.S. safety investigation procedures and examined the actions taken by the two sides” in response to the helicopter crash.

Dowdell said issues such as “communication and notification, cooperation in firefighting and rescue operations and coordination” would be examined. Both sides agreed to seek ways to improve U.S.-Japanese cooperation at accident sites, she said.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now