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Negotiation of Yongsan Base Relocation Reached Conclusion

Negotiation of Yongsan Base Relocation Reached Conclusion

Posted July. 23, 2004 22:05,   


Korea and the U.S. held the tenth round of “Future of the ROK-U.S. Alliance Policy Initiative (FOTA)” meetings in Washington yesterday and virtually reached an agreement on the details for the plan of relocating the U.S. military base out of Yongsan, Seoul to Pyeongtaek.

Today, Korea and the U.S. will provisionally sign an umbrella agreement (UA) and an implementing agreement (IA), which replace the memoranda of consent and understanding that the two sides signed in 1990.

At the meeting yesterday, Korean Defense Ministry’s Policy Bureau Chief Ahn Kwang-chan and U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asia-Pacific Affairs Richard Lawless agreed that Korea is to provide 3.49 million pyong of land in Pyeongtaek for U.S. troops, which was the most difficult point at issue. Korea and the U.S. had stuck to 3.12 million pyong and 3.60 million pyong, respectively.

As for the C4I (command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence) system of the U.S. base, which the U.S. asked for replacement with state-of-the-art equipment, the two sides agreed that Korea will transfer it to Pyeongtaek and will replace only what is unusable or what take less money for replacement than transfer.

Korea is to provide replacement equipment, which should not exceed $9 million, and the U.S. is to bear the additional expense for equipment improvement.

As for the 330 lodging facilities for U.S. troop officials, which were built on the Yongsan base through the U.S. budget, Korea will build new lodging at the new Pyeongtaek base, and as for the 890 lodging facilities built outside barracks, Korea agreed to have construction firms build new ones on the new base and rent them to the U.S. troops.

As for the other expenses including administration expense, the two countries are to review the necessity of the expense, and Korea will bear the expense only for the time it recognizes its necessity."

Since there is not sufficient time before December 2006, by which the two sides agreed to complete the base relocation, they are planning to review its delay and reach an agreement with it when they provisionally sign the UA today.

The government will officially sign the UA after the National Assembly approves it next month. Following this, if the National Assembly passes the “special law on support for U.S. military base relocation” in September, the military relocation work will be resumed, 11 years after the suspension in 1993.

Ho-Won Choi bestiger@donga.com