UPDATE: Nomad is absolutely “shocked” by the Camp Humphreys delay announcement.
A government source told Yonhap that it looks like transfer of the U.S. garrison at Yongsan to Pyeongtaek, originally scheduled to take place in 2007, would be delayed by five years to late 2013.
A source from one of the related government ministries said the possibility of completing the transfer by 2008 as scheduled was currently low, and that Korean government ministries handling the move were actively discussing a plan to delay the transfer from Yongsan and the competition of new base facilities in Pyeongtaek to 2013.
The government will reportedly announce this plan sometime next week.
The source said the change in schedule was necessary due to delays in discussions between authorities connected to the move and setbacks caused by protests from residents and civic groups.
I agree with Robert’s analysis that the Korean government is trying to stop the relocation since Secretary Rumsfeld has been removed from the Pentagon. They are testing the new Defense Secretary Robert Gates who is scheduled to be sworn in on December 18th.
Those of us who have served in Korea for awhile knew the 2008 timeline wasn’t going to happen, but 2013 give me a break? The Korean government has never wanted to allow the USFK relocation to Camp Humphreys just like they have never really wanted to take operational control from USFK either. Both the Yongsan and the operational control issues have long served as great cannonfodder by South Korean politicians looking to demagoge the issue to their own political advantage. Plus the Koreans have never wanted to fully fund the move despite all the prime real estate they are gaining from the closed out USFK facilities. Heck they won’t even properly fund the US-ROK Alliance while giving over a billion dollars to North Korea a year!
You also have the Fifth Column in South Korea, organized by North Korean agents that want to stop the move because North Korea wants to keep 2ID and USFK locked into their current locations that are well within artillery range of North Korea which would mean their easy destruction during war time. Additionally the locations of the bases, particularly Yongsan have been completely surrounded by urban cities which has led to accidents and incidents with the Korean public that gets demagoged by the North Korean sponsored anti-US activists groups in order to draw a wedge between USFK and the general Korean public. The consolidation of US forces would remove all US forces out of North Korean artillery range and additionally under the ballistic missile protection of US Army PATRIOT missile batteries. This would create better force protection for USFK forces along with giving USFK commanders more flexibility during war time.
It will be interesting to see the Pentagon’s reaction if this 2013 timeline is true. I tend to think that the Pentagon would accept a 2009 relocation time line that would coincide with a 2009 handover of operational control. A 2013 timeline is just an effort to further push this issue down the road and hope the Pentagon gives up on it just like what the Korean government is doing with the operational control issue.
I think it may be close to ultimatum time. Is it too late to bring General Trexler out of retirement?