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“USAFK Yongsan Apartments Allowed“

Posted December. 14, 2001 10:14,   


For the project of the apartments construction in the Yongsan Base by the U.S. Armed Forces in Korea (USAFK), the Ministry of National Defense (MND) Minister Kim Dong-Shin expressed its intention to support yesterday. But Seoul City has repeatedly declared against the project, and criticisms of civic organizations are forming about the MND`s decision.

▽ Consultation meeting between Defense Ministry and Ruling Party = At the consultation meeting with the New Millennium Democratic Party (NMDP), MND announced, "We will allow the construction of apartments in the Yongsan Base as much as the domestic Building Standards Act and revised Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) are permitted."

And it reported, "We will persuade Cheong Wa Dae, Government Information Agency, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Seoul City, about the necessity of the apartment construction in Camp Yongsan, and will ask for a pan-administrational support. And we will publicize this issue by advertising through the press."

A high official of MND explained the reason of MND`s positive support to the project saying, "the improvement of living condition in the better house facilities will contribute to elevate the morale of the USAFK."

▽ An attempt to nullify the relocation plan = According to the report that MND submitted to the consultation meeting with NMDP, USAFK had tried to nullify the plan to relocate the Yongsan Base, which the Defense Minister and USAFK commander agreed in May 1989.

USAFK requested MND to withdraw the plan to shift the Yongsan Base in May, and MND wrote back to USAFK that it was `disagreeable`, which proves that USAFK has no intention to give up the Yongsan Base.

▽ Opposition of Seoul City = Immediately after the announcement of MND, Seoul City expressed the opposition to the project saying, "There is no change of the plan to build a new City hall and establish a National Unification Park."

And a Seoul City official stressed, "There hasn`t been any consultation call from MND, and the construction of apartments should satisfy the concerns of both Korea and the U.S. on the Base relocation and the Seoul city-planning. We will deliver the basic stance of Seoul City to the related government agencies."

He added, "The area, where USAFK plans to construct apartments, belongs to Green Belt by current city-planning law, which does not allow the construction of buildings higher than 5-stories without revising the purpose of the land."

Sung Dong-Ki esprit@donga.com