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.
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.