U.S. Ends Seven Decades of Military Presence in South Korean CapitalJune 29, 2018 15:19
(Image source from: Montreal Gazette)
The United States has officially concluded seven decades of military presence in South Korea's capital on Friday with a ceremony to mark the inaugural of a new headquarters farther from the tense border with North Korea.
Since American troops first arrived at the end of World War II, the U.S. military had been headquartered in Seoul's central Yongsan neighborhood. U.S.-South Korea alliance was a symbol of the Yongsan Garrison aimed at deterring a North Korean attack, though its occupation of the prime real estate was as well as a long-running source of anti-American persuasion.
The command's decision to an expanded facility at Camp Humphreys, about 70 km south of Seoul, comes amid a fledgling detente on the Korean Peninsula, but the relocation wasn't linked to that. Due to the construction and funding issues, the plan which was done a decade ago had been postponed several times.
The new 3,510-acre command is the largest overseas U.S. base whose construction cost $11 billion, located on the western South Korean port city of Pyeongtaek and next to the U.S. air base.
In a message read out by a presidential aide, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said that the U.S. forces headquarters is the "cornerstone of the U.S.-South Korea alliance as well as the future" and that the recent diplomacy between Washington, Seoul, and Pyongyang was only made possible by the allies"strong deterrence and response posture."
"In opening a new era of the U.S. forces headquarters in Pyeongtaek, I hope that the U.S.-South Korea alliance will develop beyond a 'military alliance' and a 'comprehensive alliance' and become a 'great alliance,'" Moon said in the statement
By Sowmya Sangam