Soul-searching in Seoul
South Koreans generally are unhappy a; the prospect of 'educed U5 involvement in Asia and what this could mean for Korea. The Seoulin the past has attempted to alleviate this concern by adamantly opposing any reduction ol US troops in South Korea. Although the issueighly charged one. there are tentative signs that the Pak regime now is beginning to adjustrospective cutback in US troop strength in tho country, which presently stands at0 men.
Recent government-inspired presssuggests that President Pak may beore flexible line. AnheSeoul Stnmun linked US troopto assurances of "automatic" USin the event of an armed attack from the Communist North, to the modernization of South Korean forces, and to US financing fororean small-arms factory. Other leading newspapers subsequently adopted aline. The English-language Korea Time, carried
a long article emphasizing the need to build up South Korea's forces to compensate for any drop in US troop strength.
Prospects are. however, that any shifting of gears by Seoul on the troop issue will be reluctant anrj protracted. Pak can be expected Io bargain hard for every LIS soldier taken out ot Korea and to attempt toutback as long as possible Recurring incidents such as last week's seizureouth Korean patrol craft by the North Koreans will bo used by Pak to strengthen his bargaining hand- Such incidents also provide the opposition an opportunity to accuse the President ofthe nation'sharge Pak wants to avoid in his campaign for re-election next year. For example, in an obvious ploy following this latest incident. Pak claimed that any reduction in US troop strength couldorth Korean "miscalculation" that might lead to another war.tfQ FQftFJGM
Com.Tur.ni Chau: Thereountinge matmss-onor high.levelhe Chinese chargejr-rj retu'nedaid the Chineie ambaiiadon toRomania returned
apparently within tneo weeks. Theie consultations undoubtedly have been called to b'lng Criij'i keypretend five* abroad UP la date on developments in Indochina and Io provide policy guidance: the envoy* will probably also be instructed to folio* up on Pefclng'i recent diplomat* and propaganda oHenjWe in Indochina. The meet-ngi a'e bound to Include br.efmgi On broade*tOptCS. Thecertainty doei not mean thai the Chinese a'e about to alter< it'eleov>*x' ni. Rather, itino'.hei good indicationii wiat it conude'S >ts current advantage in the tltuatlon. Li
Thailand: Insurgents Sock it to 'Em
government operationsislodge tribalfrom traditional borderhe north are meeting stiff resistance.oad-construction crewin nan Province near the lao border late last month, killing five highway workers as well as five membersorder-police platoon providingfor tho mission. additional casualties were suffered when government forces subserjuently attempted to recover abandoned equipment. the action occurred in the general area where the communists thwarted an army sweep operation in early april, inflicting numerous casualties and dostroying or damaging several helicopters.
the tough insurgent response to government efforts toresence in this area is
furthui testamenthe high value theplace on this sector, which they regard as "liberated" territory. by contrast, theperformance, both here and elsewhere in thein troubled chiang Raievidence that bangkok continues to underestimate communist strength and that it is not committing the necessary military resources to contain the insurgent threat
the insurgents are also having some fresh success in the northeast, where their fortunes had been on the decline for the past two years. assas-smations. armed propaganda meetings, and other indicators of bolder insurgent activity have risen substantially in the past few months. morethe communists appear to be making some progress in strengthening their village sup port base, one of the primary objectives theset for themselves at their annual strategy sessions earlier this year.
bangkok has taken other actions that could give the insurgents more ireedom to maneuver. some thai army elements that had beenajor role in combating the communists in the northeast have roportedly been pulled out of counter insurgency operations because ofin neighboring laos. in addition, recent communist military advances in northern and western cambodia are likely to deepen thai con cern for the security of its border provinces. thai nationals of cambodian origin are to be trained and ient to cambodia. the over-all COuntcnnsur-gency program might suffer if the government becomes more deeply involved in aidingfSlttfttTT ,vr? rO-trttC'tV UISS&M)
6 -Original document.