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Thursday, 14 February, 2002, 14:58 GMT
US military 'to reinforce World Cup security'
SKorean police rehearse
South Korea plans to host the safest World Cup ever
US forces plan to deploy an aircraft carrier and surveillance planes around the Korean peninsula to protect the World Cup from terror attacks, South Korean media has reported.

The JoongAng Ilbo newspaper on Thursday said South Korea had asked for United States' military support to "guard against the North Korean threat" and prevent 11 September-type attacks.

"The United States promised its full support," the newspaper quoted a South Korean military official as saying.

USS Constellation in Hong Kong harbour
The newspaper said the aircraft carrier would be deployed in battle formation
The football World Cup finals are due to be held in South Korea and Japan from 31 May to 30 June.

According to the JoonAng, an US airborne warning and control system (Awac) will be deployed. Surveillance flights and spy satellite activity monitoring North Korea will be increased.

Tension between the North and South has stepped up since US President George W Bush last month named the North as a member of a global "axis of evil".

Special forces

The newspaper said the US had also agreed to similar measures for the Asian Games, due to be held in the South Korean city of Pusan in September and October.

South Korea has promised to make the football finals the safest ever.

The authorities say stadiums will be surrounded by no-fly zones, and police and special forces have held large-scale exercises to demonstrate their preparedness.

The US has about 37,000 troops permanently stationed in South Korea. The North and South have technically remained at war since a truce ended fighting in 1953.

The US football team is scheduled to play all three of its first-round matches in South Korea. It is grouped with South Korea, Portugal and Poland.

See also:

27 Nov 01 | World Cup 2002
Korea's World Cup venues
27 Nov 01 | World Cup 2002
Japan's World Cup venues
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