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Report: Pyeongtaek move could be delayed

SEOUL — A U.S. Forces Korea spokesman said Friday that the command has not completed or released an updated timeline or costs for moving U.S. troops to Pyeongtaek as part of a massive transformation project.

A South Korean newspaper, the Kyunghyang Shinmun, reported this week that a U.S. Congressional Research Service report said the move could be delayed to 2016. All U.S. bases in and north of Seoul are scheduled to move to Pyeongtaek by 2012.

USFK spokesman Dave Palmer said "to his knowledge" that USFK had not been contacted by the research service when it wrote the report cited by the Kyunghyang newspaper. According to the newspaper, the CRS report on South Korean-U.S. relations was published on July 25 but "opened" on Sept. 16.

The CRS is an agency within the Library of Congress that writes reports for members of Congress and their staff.

Palmer said his office had not seen a copy of the CRS report, and Stars and Stripes could not obtain a copy on Friday.

A spokesman for South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense also said Friday that he had not seen the CRS report, but was aware of the Kyunghyang article. He also said he didn’t know of a delay or cost increase in the base relocation plan.

The CRS report said U.S-South Korean relations could become strained over the base relocation plan as it becomes more expensive, according to Kyunghyang. South Korea’s share of the cost of expanding Camp Humphreys is expected to grow as the U.S. military allows troops to bring their families with them, the newspaper said, citing the report.

USFK commander Gen. Walter Sharp told Stripes in late August that he expected a timeline for the move to Pyeongtaek to become clearer in about a month.

Stars and Stripes reporter Hwang Hae-rym contributed to this story.


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