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World: U.S. Wants Exceptions For Korea In Land Mine Talks

Washington, 19 August 1997 (RFE/RL) - The U.S. says it will join the international talks aimed at banning land mines. But the State Department also says the U.S. wants an exception to any treaty to enable it to deploy mines to protect troops in South Korea.

The White House said yesterday the U.S. will send a delegation to talks in the Canadian capital of Ottawa on September 1, where 150 nations will try to conclude a treaty by the end of this year.

Previously, the U.S. had said it would only send observers to the conference.

State department Spokesman James Rubin says the U.S. sees no contradiction in its position on land mines. He says the U.S. is a global power and must be what he called logical and thoughtful about the kind of exceptions it might seek to a ban.

He says the desire to maintain land mines in Korea is perfectly reasonable because communist North Korea poses a continuous threat to South Korea and to the thousands of U.S. troops based there to protect South Korea.