HC Deb 26 February 1985 vol 74 cc162-3
12. Mr. Canavan

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many British troops are currently stationed in South Korea.

Mr. Stanley

The United Kingdom currently contributes a detachment of 34 to the United Nations honour guard in Seoul. A further six personnel are serving with the Commonwealth liaison mission, including the commander, who is also the British defence attaché.

Mr. Canavan

Why, almost a third of a century after a destructive and divisive war, have we even a token British military presence in effect supporting a Right-wing regime which has a deplorable human rights record? Why are the British Government actively supporting the presence of 40,000 American troops, and American nuclear weapons, just a few hundred miles from the Russian and Chinese borders? Is that not a provocative presence that could be a grave impediment to the peaceful reunification of Korea?

Mr. Stanley

As for the British armed services detachment, the hon. Member is wrong in his concept of that detachment. It is there to discharge a commitment to the United Nations. I should have thought the hon. Member would support that commitment. Its duties are principally ceremonial, but it also has some security duties relating to the British embassy in Seoul.