South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun has made a surprise trip to Iraq to visit South Korean troops in the war-torn country.

Mr. Roh says he wanted to see firsthand how South Korea's 3,600 troops were doing in the northern Kurdish town of Irbil, where they are deployed. Mr. Roh spent a few hours in Irbil today (Wednesday) before departing.

His visit came on the final leg of an international trip that included stops in Laos, France, Britain and Poland.

Meanwhile, a South Korean legislative committee has approved a government proposal to extend the deployment of South Korean soldiers in Iraq for another year.

The proposal will be considered for final approval during a plenary session of South Korea's National Assembly, which begins Thursday.