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South Korean Military to Relinquish Real Estate for Local Development

Credits: Breaking Defense

South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense has announced plans to release approximately 130 square miles of military land for local development.

This move, the largest turnover of military land since 2007, addresses longstanding complaints about property restrictions that have hindered development opportunities in various communities.

The release of this land, scattered across South Korea, is expected to have no impact on military operations but will promote economic revitalization and ease building restrictions with limited construction heights.

The areas to be turned over include approximately 54 square miles in South Chungcheong province, 18 square miles in Seoul, 0.02 square miles in Pyeongtaek City, and around 14.6 square miles near the border with North Korea.

South Korean Soldiers (Credits: Los Angeles Times)

President Yoon Suk Yeol announced during a televised speech at Seosan Air Base that a military runway there will be repurposed to accommodate a civilian airport by 2028.

He highlighted the changing capabilities of the military since the 1970s when land restrictions were first introduced, emphasizing the need to adapt to the country’s rapid urbanization.

Additionally, South Korea has seen the return of real estate previously occupied by the U.S. military as part of a $10 billion relocation plan funded mainly by Seoul. This includes the closure or partial return of around 70 U.S. military outposts since 2002 to consolidate American forces.

Yongsan Garrison in Seoul, which previously housed several U.S. military commands, has been transformed into a park after the commands were relocated to Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek.

The release of military land for civilian use and the redevelopment of former U.S. military sites reflect South Korea’s efforts to adapt to changing security and urban development needs, aiming to promote regional economic development and enhance the quality of life for its citizens.

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