|This June 29, 2018, photo shows the United States Forces Korea (USFK)'s Camp Humphreys headquarters in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province. Korea Times file|
By Jung Da-min
The United States Forces Korea (USFK) reportedly wants to relocate the South Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command (CFC) to the U.S. Army's Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, instead of the Ministry of National Defense compound in Yongsan, Seoul.
The ministry and CFC said Thursday that discussions are underway on details including the specific timeline for the relocation of CFC, currently headquartered at Yongsan Garrison in Seoul, responding to media reports citing a government source that the U.S. side suggested the Pyeongtaek base as the new location to the South Korean side.
The reports cited the source as saying USFK chief Gen. Robert Abrams, who also leads the CFC and U.N. Command, recently delivered the suggestion to Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo.
The two sides had earlier been discussing the relocation of the CFC to the defense ministry compound, with Abrams visiting the ministry in January to look around the compound buildings.
Abrams reportedly cited the costs of organizing lodgings for family members of CFC personnel, if the CFC moved into the ministry.
The CFC on this matter said the decision will be made within the frameworks of the Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) and Military Committee Meeting (MCM). The SCM is an annual defense meeting and the MCM is held alongside the SCM, while the MCM could be held more than once a year if needed.
"At the appropriate future time, ROK and U.S. government leadership will announce an Alliance decision on the future CFC headquarters location, which will be in the best interest of the ROK-U.S. Alliance and strengthen CFC's ability to perform its missions," Abrams said in a press release, Thursday.
The CFC was supposed to be disbanded with the transfer of wartime operational control (OPCON) from the U.S. to the South, but the OPCON transfer plan had been delayed repeatedly due to North Korea's provocations.