US Forces Korea opens new headquarters

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Seoul, June 29 (IANS) The US Forces Korea (USFK) opened its new headquarters in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, on Friday, in a relocation project likely to broaden its security role long defined by deterrence against North Korea.

The USFK held a ceremony to celebrate the relocation from Yongsan, central Seoul, to Camp Humphreys, a sprawling complex about 70 km from Seoul, after a delay caused by residents’ protests, budgetary issues and massive construction work to prevent floods, reports Yonhap News Agency.

“Today marks a historic milestone in the history of the United Nations Command (UNC) which began in 1950 and the history of South Korea-US alliance,” USFK commander Gen. Vincent Brooks said at the ceremony that marked the end of the era for Yongsan as both USFK and UNC headquarters.

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The UNC oversees the armistice that halted the 1950-53 Korean War, while the USFK, along with the South Korea-US Combined Forces Command (CFC), is a force provider in case of contingencies as well as a deterrent against Pyongyang’s possible aggression.

The relocation marked the separation of the USFK and UNC headquarters from that of the CFC still in Seoul.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said that the new headquarters will help ensure the stable stationing of the USFK.

“Through the opening of the (new) era in Pyeongtaek, I hope that the South Korea-US alliance will evolve into a great alliance beyond the military, comprehensive alliance,” he said in a speech read out by his security aide Lee Sang-chul.

The USFK established its Yongsan headquarters in July 1957 after the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

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