Patriotic Korean students enter U.S. ambassador’s Seoul compound, demand U.S. troops out now
On October 18 a group of Korean students entered the U.S. ambassador’s residential compound in Seoul, Korea to protest the continuing presence of U.S. troops in their country. 20 people, who belong to a coalition of progressive students, scaled the wall of the diplomatic compound and began a demonstration against the U.S. occupation of their county. The students chanted “We don’t need U.S. troops,” and “Get out!” before being escorted out by police. 19 of the students were detained and questioned by south Korean police.
There are an estimated 28,000 U.S. troops in southern Korea who are essentially engaged in military occupation of the southern part of the Korean peninsula. In 1945 the United States militarily occupied Korea south of the 38th parallel, while the Soviet Red Army occupied the north of the country. There were international agreements that the two occupying powers were supposed to leave the country after helping stabilize the country and setting up elections. While the Soviet Union left Korea in 1948, the U.S. military never left.
The students also protested against the demands of the Trump administration that the south Korean government increase its contribution to maintain U.S. troops on the Korean peninsula. Under the Special Measures Agreement, the United States demands money from south Korea for its ‘protection.’
The Trump administration demanded an increase from $800 million to $1.6 billion dollars, a 100% increase, to support the U.S. military in Korea. After some pushback from south Korea, the two countries agreed on a one-year increase to $1 billion. The United States is looking for a five-year agreement, and more talks are scheduled for October 22-24 of this year.
This student group, as well as many others in the Korean peninsula, oppose this extortion and look forward to a Korea that is united, peaceful, sovereign and free of U.S. military bases.