Iraq wants South Korea to extend its military presence in country

South Korean Defense Minister Kim Jang-soo was asked by a senior Iraqi military official to extend Seoul's military presence in the war-ravaged country, the Defense Ministry said.

Iraqi Vice Defense Minister Sabah Ajeel Dawood expressed hope that Seoul would continue to play a role in the development of Iraq, citing Iraqis' positive view toward South Korean troops in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil.

However, Kim did not make any comment on the request, the ministry said.

The appeal came as Kim's ministry prepares to submit the legislature a mission termination plan of 1,200 troops - stationed to support the U.S.-led reconstruction of Iraq - by the end of June.

Seoul's current contribution of forces makes it Washington's biggest coalition partner after Britain.

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