SEOUL — South Korean officials are considering building an air-to-ground bombing range on abandoned ships, officials confirmed this week.

The idea, said Ministry of National Defense spokesman Maj. Joo Myoung-soo, is just one of many under consideration. He refused to give any other examples, citing the sensitivity of the issue.

U.S. Forces Korea commander Gen. B.B. Bell told the Korean National Security Assembly’s Security Forum during a July 13 speech that the lack of an adequate training range on the Korean peninsula must be resolved.

South Korea closed the Kooni Range Complex in August 2005, leaving American aircrews without adequate training facilities.

Late last week, MND officials confirmed that the South Korean government was moving on Bell’s request for a new range.

Col. Kang Yong-hee, another MND spokesman, told Stars and Stripes on July 10 that his government was to build the high-tech range, utilizing a Weapons Impact Scoring System, on Chikdo Island in North Cholla province. He wouldn’t confirm South Korean news reports that said construction on the $3 million range was to begin before U.S.-South Korea Security Consultative Meetings in October in Washington, D.C.

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