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SEOUL — The old Trans- Korea Pipeline, used by U.S. military forces since 1971, will be dug up and dismantled as the transition proceeds toward a newer, more environmentally friendly pipeline, South Korean officials said Tuesday.

Under an agreement between the National Assembly and Ministry of Defense, removal of the old 280-mile-long pipeline — blamed for years as a source of leaks and pollution — would begin as early as next year.

The cost is projected to run several hundred million dollars, government officials said, with part of that money going to compensate landowners under whose property the pipeline runs.

Last month, U.S. Forces Korea announced it had reached agreement to transition to the newer South-North Pipeline, a commercial system completed in 2000. Under terms of that 10-year agreement, USFK would pay about $7 million in transition costs.

The United States’ total annual costs for pipeline use would rise from around $5 million to around $10 million, South Korean Foreign Ministry officials said when the agreement was announced.

The two sides set an April 2005 target date for complete transition from the old pipeline system to the newer one.

According to U.S. officials, the new pipeline system will enable a 10 percent increase in the volume of fuel that could be moved each day. In addition, high-tech systems would be able to detect any leaks and shut off sections of the pipeline that undergo problems.

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