SEOUL: The South Korean Foreign Ministry on Friday announced that the US has agreed to return 12 military sites here to Seoul. A virtual joint committee session of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) was held earlier in the day, agreeing on the return of the US military sites, including six in central Seoul, reports Xinhua news agency. SOFA governs the legal status of about 28,500 American soldiers stationed in South Korea.
The agreement was reached on condition that Seoul and Washington will continue discussions on responsibility for decontamination of the American military bases, ways to strengthen environmental management of installations currently under the US Forces Korea (USFK) control and the revision of SOFA documents proposed by South Korea. Among six US military bases in Seoul to be returned to South Korea are two plots inside the Yongsan Garrison, and Camp Kim and Niblo Barracks both in Yongsan district. It marked the first time that the Yongsan complex sites, or the former US military headquarters, were placed under the control of South Korea. The country plans to develop the sites as national parks.
Other military sites to be returned include Camp Walker heliport in Daegu; Camp Jackson and part of Camp Mobile in Uijeongbu and Dongducheon each in Gyeonggi province; Commander Naval Forces Korea (CNFK) Detachment in Pohang; and part of the Pilsung Air Range in Taebaek. (IANS)
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