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YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — U.S. and South Korean officials will meet May 6-7 in Hawaii to discuss U.S. military forces here, a Defense Ministry official confirmed Monday.

It’s the second meeting of the “Future of the U.S.-ROK Alliance Policy Initiative,” said Lt. Col. Moon Chong-joo, a ministry spokesman. The first meeting — held April 8-9 — centered on moving Yongsan Garrison facilities and repositioning the 2nd Infantry Division.

The 14,000-soldier division is spread north of Seoul along the Demilitarized Zone. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in March that the forces are inflexible and intrusive on South Korea’s civilian population.

Lt. Gen. Cha Young-koo, deputy South Korean defense minister for policy, will represent South Korea along with other officials, Moon said. Richard P. Lawless, U.S. assistant secretary of defense for Asia-Pacific affairs, led the U.S. side at the last meeting along with State Department officials.

The two sides agreed to relocate facilities at Yongsan Garrison “as quickly as possible.” The 630-acre base, which lies in the middle of Seoul, is home to U.S. Forces Korea, the Combined Forces Command, 8th Army and the U.N. Command.

The talks analyze South Korea’s ability to defend itself, while looking at how the United States can lend stability to the region, according to a release after the last round of talks.

U.S. Forces Korea aims to build a more efficient force. The joint chiefs of staff of both countries have agreed to mid- and long-term studies of their militaries.

— Choe Song-won contributed to this report.


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