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SEOUL — The South Korean government held its first planning meeting this week to decide the future of the 600 acres in the capital city that is now Yongsan Garrison, according to a spokesman from the Korean prime minister’s office.

The Yongsan National and History Park Construction Promotion Committee met Monday to begin brainstorming ideas for the future of the land, which is about three-fourths the area of New York’s Central Park.

The land, which once housed Japanese military quarters and now is home to U.S. Forces Korea headquarters, could become a key part in linking the Han River with nearby Namsan Park for a large public space in this crowded city of more than 10 million people, the committee members said Monday.

That idea would add to a plan already approved by Seoul City Hall that includes improving the land just north of the Han River, according to Kim Min-sung, an official from the Korean prime minister’s office.

But another idea includes combining a park with development, namely residential housing and underground shopping areas, according to Kim. The combination plan also might include new roads to ease traffic.

The advisory committee was formed last November and includes 26 people from public and private sectors in South Korea, including Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan.

The goal is to set a long-term policy, through 2030, Kim said. The committee also must make recommendations about selling portions of the land to pay for the relocation of U.S. troops southward on the peninsula.

The turnover of Yongsan is part of a long-range plan to centralize most of U.S. Forces Korea in the Pyeongtaek area, about 50 miles south of Seoul, by 2008.


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