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US forces in South Korea moving to new military base

Army Lt. Gen. Thomas Vandal, fifth from right, and retired South Korean Gen. Paik Sun-yup, to his left, join other dignitaries for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of the new 8th Army headquarters at Camp Humphreys, South Korea

Seoul, July 11 (UiTV/IANS) - American forces in South Korea started moving to a new military base to the south of capital Seoul.

The Eighth US Army command of the US Forces Korea (USFK) held an opening ceremony on Tuesday for its new headquarters at Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, 70 km south of Seoul, reports Xinhua news agency.

The move is a part of the USFK's relocation plan, under which its headquarters and the Eight US Army in the Yongsan garrison in central Seoul as well as the 2nd Infantry Division to north of Seoul would be moved to their new bases in Pyeongtaek.

The Eighth US Army is a permanently forward-deployed field unit of the USFK, the legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War.

The USFK command was scheduled to be moved to the new base by the end of this year. Most of 28,500 US forces stationed here would be moved to Pyeongtaek within this year.

The relocation plan was launched in early 2003 when then South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and his US counterpart George W. Bush agreed to the relocation project.

Under the relocation project, 91 US military bases here across the South Korean territory would be relocated into two main bases around Pyeongtaek and in the country's southeastern area.

The combined size of the US military bases here will be reduced to 76.75 million square metres from the previous 241.97 million square metres after completing the relocation project.

For the project, the South Korean side will pay about 8.9 trillion won ($7 billion) for the costs, while the US side will pay about 7.1 trillion won ($6 billion).