Sunday, July 17, 2011

N. Korean group blasts SOFA, demands withdrawal of U.S. forces

N. Korean group blasts SOFA, demands withdrawal of U.S. forces

SEOUL, July 9 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean group dedicated to probing crimes committed by U.S. soldiers in South Korea renewed its attack on the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) on Saturday and called for the withdrawal of foreign troops from the Korean Peninsula.

The statement by the spokesman for the North Headquarters of the Nationwide Special Committee for Probing the Truth behind the GIs' Crimes, stressed that 45 years have passed since Seoul signed the "humiliating" SOFA and that it is time for the agreement to be scrapped.

The state-controlled group had made regular attacks against the bilateral pact and the South Korean government in the past.

The message, carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency, also reiterated Pyongyang's demand that all U.S. troops leave South Korea. It claimed the revelation of chemical defoliants that were secretly buried in the country is the direct result of the military occupation of South Korea by the United States.

"SOFA is an unprecedented document proving that South Korea is a colony of the United States and its existence is a shame not only on South Koreans but on all other Koreans," the group said.

The agreement was signed on July 9, 1967 and governs the legal status of U.S. soldiers, their staff and families stationed in South Korea. Some 28,000 U.S. troops are currently stationed in the country to deter North Korean aggression.