Vol. 5 Num 568 Sat. December 31, 2005  

South Korean House endorses troop cut

South Korea's parliament yesterday endorsed the government's plan to cut the country's troops stationed in Iraq by one-third next year.

The National Assembly voted by 110 to 31 for the defence ministry bill to cut the 3,200-strong South Korean troop contingent to 2,300 and extend its stay in Iraq for another year until the end of 2006.

South Korean troops, the third-largest force in the war-ravaged country after those of the United States and Britain, have been stationed in the northern Iraqi town of Arbil.

The government plans to reduce the contingent in the first half of 2006.

The ruling Uri Party, which holds 144 seats was helped by minor opposition parties to ram 20 bills through the 299-member assembly which has been boycotted by the main opposition Grand National Party (GNP).

The conservative GNP has held anti-government rallies outside the assembly since the ruling party railroaded a new private school law through parliament on December 9.