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PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — Workers will proceed as scheduled in getting land ready for the expansion of Camp Humphreys despite reports of a possible five-year delay in the move of U.S. forces there, the U.S. military said Friday.

Camp Humphreys is scheduled to triple in size and become the main U.S. military installation on the peninsula by the end of 2008 under a South Korea-U.S. agreement.

However, South Korea’s defense ministry last week said the move might not happen until 2013. The ministry’s comments followed news reports quoting an anonymous government official who predicted the delay.

Concerns over how the two allies will split the costs of the project, and delays from anti-expansion protests staged on lands earmarked for the expansion, were among reasons the ministry cited for the possible timetable change.

Nevertheless, work will start soon on the first section of a 2,328-acre tract outside Humphreys onto which the post will expand its boundaries, said Lawrence M. Monaco, deputy director of the Project Integration Office at U.S. Forces Korea (Advance Element) headquarters on the camp.

The first section, or Parcel 1, occupies about 200 acres. Workers are to cover it with an estimated 3 million cubic yards of landfill and put in roads and a drainage system.

“There’s absolutely no delay in progress on Parcel 1,” Monaco said, noting that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded a $29.7 million contract to Seohee Construction Co. Ltd. of Seoul in November.

“The contractor has been selected, the contract’s awarded, the notice to proceed was given in November,” Monaco said. “We don’t yet have the contractor’s full work schedule, but we know that by mid-January he will be establishing his office on Parcel 1 and will be mobilizing equipment and personnel to begin work.

“In short…” Monaco said, “it’s working as advertised.”

Also Friday, the chief spokesman for the U.S. military in South Korea noted that a final timetable on the relocation project has not been decided because the two nations still are working out details.

“We’ve seen the reports out of Seoul regarding the delay and relocation of U.S. Forces Korea,” said Army Col. Franklin Childress, USFK chief spokesman.

“And the master plan for this relocation is in draft and not yet complete. The procedure is that the U.S. and [Republic of Korea] governments will consult at the policy level” and matters will “proceed from there.”


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