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SEOUL — As Korean officials weigh their options about a future use for the former U.S. military base Camp Page, some are considering using the opportunity to help some of the Koreans who lost their jobs when the base closed earlier this year, according to a Chunchon city official.

Officials from that city, where Camp Page is located, hope the South Korean government will turn over the land to local leaders.

If that happens, city officials want to turn the area into a research or industrial park, said Kim Yong-bak, city planning and budget department chief.

Building that facility might result in new work for about half of the 400 Koreans who lost their jobs when Camp Page closed in March, Kim said.

The construction jobs could help the 220 blue-collar workers unemployed because of the camp’s closing, he said.

The idea still is a proposal and depends upon many factors, including a review of environmental cleanups, if any, USFK might have to make before the land is put to another use, he said.

“The ultimate use of the land returned to the Korean people … is best decided by the Koreans themselves,” said a USFK spokesman contacted Friday evening.

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


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