US to return 12 military bases to S Korea: Report

TEHRAN, Dec. 12 (MNA) – South Korean officials said in a virtual meeting with the United States on Friday that they had concluded that Washington would return 12 military bases to Seoul.

The United States on Friday returned 12 American military sites to South Korea, including some in central Seoul, amid persistent concerns that an additional delay would further dampen regional development efforts.

During a virtual joint committee session of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), Seoul and Washington agreed on the return of the sites, but failed to bridge differences on who and how to shoulder environmental cleanup costs, Yonhap reported.

But the two sides agreed to continue consultations on decontamination procedures, base management criteria and other outstanding issues going forward.

Among the returned sites are two plots inside the Yongsan Garrison in central Seoul, Camp Kim and four other sites used by the US Forces Korea (USFK) in the capital city.

It is the first time that sites at the Yongsan complex -- the erstwhile US military headquarters -- have been handed over to South Korean control. Seoul plans to establish a national park there.

The other sites are the Camp Walker heliport in the southeastern city of Daegu; Camp Jackson and Camp Mobile in the northern cities of Uijeongbu and Dongducheon, respectively; a golf course in Hanam, south of Seoul; a Marine contingent site in the southern port city of Pohang; and a shooting range in the eastern city of Taebaek.

The US military has more than 40,000 troops in South Korea.

Environmental pollution and crime by the US military have always been controversial issues over the US military presence in South Korea.

MA/PR

News Code 167081

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