presidential office-US soldier crimes

SEOUL, March 18 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae has asked the United States to take strong measures in response to a string of recent crimes involving U.S. soldiers stationed in the Asian country, a presidential official said Monday.

Amid a growing number of crimes involving American soldiers, the allies have started to study the cause, the official responsible for foreign policy and security affairs told Yonhap News Agency on condition of anonymity.

"After consultations with the U.S., we plan to come up with stronger measures," the official said.

On Sunday, Cheong Wa Dae's foreign policy and security affairs office called in a foreign ministry official handling relations with the U.S. and asked that the ministry demand stronger preventative measures from U.S. Forces Korea and the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, according to the presidential official.

"The United States takes this matter seriously and I believe will take stronger internal measures," the official said.

Several American soldiers have been arrested this month in separate cases on charges of firing a BB gun into a crowded nightlife district in Seoul, and assaulting police officers.

About 28,500 American soldiers are stationed in South Korea as a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War that ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty.

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