US Returns Four Military Bases to Korea as Return Process for Yongsan Garrison Begins (excerpt)
(Source: Korea Times; issued Dec 11, 2019)
The United States on Wednesday returned to South Korea four of its military bases on the peninsula in a decision to end a yearslong delay caused by differences on decontamination procedures and to allay worries over the adverse impact of the delay on regional development schemes.

South Korea and the U.S. also initiated the long-awaited return process for the Yongsan Garrison in central Seoul, once home to the headquarters of the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK), to ensure that a mega project to establish a national park there proceeds as scheduled.

The four returned bases are Camps Eagle and Long in Wonju, 130 kilometers east of Seoul; parcels of Camp Market in Bupyeong, just west of the capital; and the Shea Range parcel at Camp Hovey in Dongducheon, just north of Seoul. They were already closed between 2009 and 2011.

The allies made the agreement at the 200th joint committee meeting of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) at Camp Humphreys, a sprawling U.S. military complex in Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometers south of Seoul. SOFA governs the legal status of 28,500 American troops here. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the Reuters website.


US Congress Agrees on Bill Restricting Drawdown of US Troops in South Korea (excerpt)
(Source: Korea Times; issued Dec 11, 2019)
The United States Congress has agreed on a bill restricting any drawdown of American troops in South Korea from the current level of 28,500, the legislation's final conference report showed Tuesday, marking an increase of 6,500 from the previous bar.

The House and Senate Armed Services Committees agreed Monday on the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, which authorizes funding for the Department of Defense.

According to the accompanying conference report, the new bill restricts the use of funds for removing troops from South Korea, an issue that has drawn intense scrutiny amid contentious cost-sharing negotiations between Seoul and Washington.

"None of the funds authorized to be appropriated by this Act may be used to reduce the total number of members of the Armed Forces serving on active duty who are deployed to South Korea below 28,500" unless the U.S. defense secretary certifies that it is in the U.S. national security interest, the text of the conference report reads.

The defense secretary must also certify that the reduction will not significantly undermine the security of U.S. allies in the region, and that allies including South Korea and Japan have been appropriately consulted. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the Korea Times website.


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