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S. Koreans to play larger defense role

SEOUL, South Korea - Defense Secretary Dick Cheney and South Koreanofficials agreed Thursday to the withdrawal of several thousand U.S. troops over the next three years as Korea "takes the lead" in its own defense. Cheney, on the first leg of an Asian-Pacific tour that is also taking him to the Philippines and Japan, said the troop reductions would not be done "precipitously" and pledged to keep U.S. soldiers based here as long as the Korean people want them. U.S. officials said Cheney told the South Koreans he wants to cut U.S. forces in Asia and the Pacific by 10 percent to 12 percent, with 5,000 of the troops being pulled out of South Korea. There are 43,000 troops based in South Korea.

Sweden leaders resign after defeat STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Sweden's Social Democratic Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson resigned Thursday after opposition parties won a crucial economic vote in Parliament. Five opposition parties combined to defeat the government by 190 votes to 153 on a motion that rejected proposals for a pay freeze and mandatory pay settlements. Carlsson handed in his resignation to Parliamentary Speaker Thage Peterson who asked him and the Cabinet to stay until a new government had been formed, parliamentary officials said. Majvi Wiberg, a parliamentary spokeswoman, said Peterson would propose a new prime minister to

parliament after consulting all party leaders.

Canada reconfirms bilingual pledge OTTAWA - Canada's Conservative government introduced a motion Thursday to reconfirm Parliament's commitment to bilingualism amid a deepening split between English- and French-speaking Canadians over languages.

More than two dozen communities in the English-speaking province of Ontario have declared themselves English only, saying they fear the cost of being forced to offer bilingual municipal services. The moves have angered French-speaking Quebec and debate over separating from the rest of the country has broken out again. Prime Minister Brian Mulroney called in the debate for greater tolerance between the two communities.

Britain, Argentina resume relations LONDON - Britain and Argentina restored full diplomatic ties Thursday, affirming reconciliation after their short but bloody 1982 war for the Falkland Islands. Both sides went into talks in Madrid having agreed to leave aside the question of Argentina's 170-year-old claim to sovereignty over the South Atlantic archipelago it calls the Malvinas.

The breakthrough came after two days of talks when Britain agreed to lift its 150-mile maritime exclusion zone around the Falklands beginning March 31. Embassies will be reopened soon and ambassadors appointed, probably by the end of March.