South Korea will retrieve around 500,000 square meters of Yongsan Garrison, the United States Forces Korea’s base in Yongsan District, Seoul by early next year. The area in question is about a quarter of the base, 70 times the size of a football stadium.
South Korean and the United States have agreed to cooperate closely on making the return of 500,000 square meters of Yongsan Garrison happen by early next year, according to the South Korean Foreign Affairs Ministry on Thursday. Ko Yun-ju, North American Affairs Bureau Director-General of South Korea, and Lt. Gen. Scott L. Pleus, U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) Deputy Commander, who are co-chairmen of the Status of Forces Agreement, adopted a related joint statement on Thursday.
It will be the first time that a large chunk of land of Yongsan Garrison will be retrieved by South Korea. The two allies agreed to relocate the base back in 2004, which lost momentum due to their different opinions in environmental purification cost. Sixteen years after the deal, South Korea took two sites of the Yongsan base back in December last year, but they accounted for as small as 2.6 percent of the whole area.
Although the South Korean government has set up a plan to turn the base into a national park, it will take a considerable time to have complete control of the whole base because the USFK still uses the land. “We are working to make it into a national park as soon as possible,” said an insider of the South Korean Foreign Affairs Ministry.
Ji-Sun Choi email@example.com