For nearly a quarter century American ground forces have served as the "finger in the dike" in maintaining an uneasy peace in northeast Asia. Now they are to be systematically withdrawn. The result could shake world power relationships to their very foundations. "Korea serves as the front line of the United States. This should be the last place to pull out U.S. troops." Former Prime Minister Paik Too - chin, now a delegate to the Republic of Korea's National Assembly, leaned forward in his chair in his spacious office and added: "I am very worried. I oppose the [U.S. ground force withdrawal] schedule of Mr. Carter. Without continued U.S. participation and determination" - he placed heavy stress on "determination" - "peace cannot be maintained." President Carter, of course, earlier this year announced that the present 33,000 - man U.S. ground force in South Korea would be withdrawn in stages over a five-year period.
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