S. Korea pushes to make law on overseas troop dispatches

By Kim Eun-jung

SEOUL, Nov. 19 (Yonhap) -- South Korea is pushing to enact a law on overseas troop dispatches to pave the way for legal military efforts in international security and U.N. peacekeeping missions, the defense ministry said Tuesday.

In light of South Korea's increased involvement in U.N. peacekeeping missions and global humanitarian efforts in the last decade, the new bill would clarify the process and conditions for sending troops overseas. The current law only requires the military to gain parliamentary approval for troop dispatches.

"The bill is aimed at promoting international peace, regional security and defense cooperation with other countries," the ministry said in a press release.

There are 1,163 South Korean personnel dispatched to 16 nations, including Somalia, Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon, for U.N. peacekeeping missions and regional security cooperation.

The ministry is also seeking to create a new clause that allows for the deployment of forces without parliamentary approval in emergency disaster relief situations, a senior military official said.

Currently, Seoul is considering sending troops to the typhoon-hit Philippines to support its restoration efforts. The dispatch, however, requires parliamentary consent.

"Japan has an exceptive clause that allows troop dispatch without parliamentary approval in case of emergency relief aid purposes," said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "We can also promptly dispatch troops if there is such a clause."

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