US Forces Korea (USFK) opened their new headquarters in South Korea’s Pyeongtaek on Friday in an attempt to consolidate US troops south of the Demilitarized Zone, the US State Department revealed Tuesday.
The new headquarters at Camp Humphreys is located some 40 miles south of the Yongsan garrison, which US Forces Korea has used as its base since 1957, Military.com reported. The United Nations Command (UNC) has also joined USFK in Pyeongtaek.
“The move from Seoul to Camp Humphreys signifies a transition for the two commands, which have been based at US Army Garrison Yongsan since the end of hostilities in the Korean War,” the news release from the Pentagon states, adding that the cost for the “transformation and relocation effort of the command” is roughly $10.7 billion.
The Friday opening ceremony saw the new headquarters building dedicated to US Army Gen. John William Vessey Jr, who was the first commander of the Combined Forces Command. Guests at the ceremony included Vessey’s son, David, and South Korean Defense Minister Song Young Moo.
Army Gen. Vincent Brooks, who heads the USFK, UNC, and the South Korea-US Combined Forces Command, told attendees at the ceremony that critics should not see the move as the US backing away from its commitment to defend the Korean Peninsula, according to Military.com.
The move “represents the significant investment in the long-term presence of US forces in Korea,” the outlet quoted Brooks saying.