US to return 12 military sites to South Korea
US to return 12 military sites to South Korea

The South Korean Foreign Ministry on Friday has made an announcement that the US has agreed to return 12 military sites here to Seoul. Among six US military bases in the capital city, Seoul to be returned to South Korea are two plots inside the Yongsan Garrison, and Camp Kim and Niblo Barracks both in Yongsan district.

A virtual joint committee session of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) was held and it agreed on the return of the US military sites, including six in central Seoul, reports a news agency. SOFA body governs the legal status of about 28,500 American soldiers deployed 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.

It is the first ever that the Yongsan complex sites, or the former US military headquarters, were placed under South Korea's control. South Korea 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.

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