Monday, March 2, 2009

Richard Halloran on USFK's move to Pyongtaek

Richard Halloran has an article in the Honolulu Advertiser (why does that name evoke images of the PennySaver?) describing the current state of the US Forces Korea move from Yongsan Garrison smack in the middle of Seoul down to a vastly expanded Camp Humphreys in Pyongtaek (p'yŏng•taek, 평택/平澤; aka Pyeongtaek), about an hour south of Seoul in southernmost Kyŏnggi-do Province (Gyeonggi-do).

The information is nothing groundbreaking, but offers a good by-the-numbers overview of the $13 billion undertaking, which is scheduled to be mostly ready by April 2012. 

The move is taking forever, but at least it's going through. I remember when USFK was supposed to be out of Yongsan by 1996 — ha! But this time they're serious: they really are consolidating the land they need and construction has already begun. Of course, there have been holdups orchestrated by pro-Pyongyang, anti-Seoul, anti-US "progressive" groups, who manipulate locals into holding their ground and refusing to leave (read about that here, here, and here). 

The move is a win-win. We Seoulites get our grand park in the middle of the city (not far from my apartment, even), USFK gets a newer and better base in a less densely crowded area, the presence of a large foreign garrison in the capital is no longer there to agitate a sensitive public, etc. These things bode well for keeping troops in South Korea, which is essential for maintaining the Pax Americana that keeps the region safe and secure. 

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