The United States should maintain current troop strength but reposition its forces in South Korea to "change and lessen our military footprint" there, U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan. said Wednesday.
Brownback, freshly returned from South Korea and the inauguration of President Roh Moo-hyun, said he joined Secretary of State Colin Powell in private meetings with the new president.
Brownback said before the meetings he had concerns about Roh's seemingly anti-American stances and comments. But the meetings left the senator reassured South Korea's president is a strong U.S. supporter.
Brownback said repositioning troops, which have been in place 50 years, would acknowledge the reality of South Korea's urban growth.
Brownback said U.S. troops are now deployed in formerly rural areas that have since been engulfed by the spread of Seoul, the country's capital and largest city. Moving troops from their urban enclaves would benefit the U.S.-South Korean relationship, he said.
Brownback described Roh as a former human rights attorney whose hero is Abraham Lincoln.
The senator said he told Roh more should be done to advocate for the North Korean refugees in China.
"North Korea is a failed state with a third of its people starving," Brownback said.