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US Base Relocation Plan Delayed Again

Posted April. 27, 2006 03:10,   


It was found yesterday that the U.S. government told the Ministry of National Defense (MND) to postpone drawing up the Master Plan (MP), a core step in the reconfiguration of U.S. army bases in Korea such as Yongsan base in Seoul and the Second Infantry Division to Pyeongtaek in Gyeonggi Province, from the end of June to the end of September.

The MP that the two countries are jointly writing is a key blueprint in deciding the specific reorganization timetable, design standard of buildings and size, total relocation costs, and the sharing of costs between the two countries for relocating. The U.S. takes the initiative in framing, but it has to discuss and review details with Korea.

The MP was originally scheduled to be finished by the end of last year, but it was deferred to the end of June and then again to the end of September. The repeated delays have sparked concerns that the original plan to finish relocating by 2008 could be hampered.

Tough going in discussions on deciding the share of relocation costs, a core issue in negotiation, between Korea and the U.S. is said to be the reason for the prolonged MP process.

The MND has so far stated that detailed relocation schedule, total costs, and the share of each side’s payment can come out only after the MP is finished by the end of June.

Regarding the U.S.’ delay notice, the MND will suggest to the U.S. that completing the framing of the MP as soon as possible would be in the best interests of both countries as another deferment to draw MP could disrupt the whole related schedule.

In particular, the MND is concerned about the prospect of another unfavorable factor by the MP delay following the illegal farming situation by some residents and members of the pan-national committee against the expansion of U.S. military bases in Pyeongtaek City, Gyeonggi Province, a place to where the bases would be relocated.

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com