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U.S. regrets soldier’s alleged rape of Korean woman

WASHINGTON (Yonhap News) -- The U.S. government on Wednesday vowed full cooperation in the investigation into an alleged rape by an American soldier of a young Korean woman near a military base north of Seoul, according to the South Korean Embassy in Washington.

Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell telephoned Amb. Han Duck-soo hours after a news report that the 21-year-old Army private, assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division in Dongducheon, had raped the 18-year-old woman at around 4 a.m. Saturday.

She was watching television in her rented room in downtown Dongducheon, where several military bases are located, according to investigators.

Police identified the soldier through a closed-circuit television camera installed near the room and informed the U.S. military of the case.

After turning himself in to police, the soldier was quoted as saying that he can’t remember exactly what happened as he was drunk.

Police sent the case to prosecutors.

Campbell expressed regret over the incident in his conversation with the ambassador, the embassy said in a press release.

The assistant secretary also said “the U.S. government will closely cooperate with the South Korean government for thorough investigation into this case,” it added.

Washington’s swift response to the report apparently reflects a desire to minimize any political and diplomatic fallout.

In 2002, a wave of anti-American rallies erupted in South Korea after two schoolgirls were crushed to death by an armored vehicle belonging to U.S. Forces Korea. Around 28,000 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea.

Relations between Japan and the U.S. soured due to several rapes of Japanese girls by U.S. Marines on Okinawa.
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