The South Korean government is trying to smooth things over with General Bell by saying they will only delay the Camp Humphreys relocation until 2012 now:
South Korea is studying ways to expedite the relocation of U.S. bases, which is expected to be delayed about five years from the original target year of 2008, officials at the Defense Ministry said Monday.
Some have interpreted the move as an effort by Seoul to soothe the United States, which has protested the delay.
“We are reviewing ways to advance the timetable for the relocation at least one year from the expected year of 2013 under the direction of Defense Minister Kim Jang-soo,â€™â€™ an informed ministry official said on condition of anonymity.
The ministry will soon finalize the study on the relocation timetable and propose it to the United States, the source said.
You may remember USFK Commander, General Bell’s "fighting words" to the Korean government last month over the announced delay.Â After General Bell’s statement the Korean government came back with this lame response.Â This latest announcement it along with the cutting of funds by the Korean government for the relocation while sending over a billion dollars to North Korea this year, is a clear sign that South Korea is committed to dragging this out as long as possible and then hope a change in the US administration in 2008 will bring in a change of policy in regards to the transformation.Â As much as some sectors of Korean society complain about the US troop presence in South Korea, it is their own government making sure that the status quo remains the same.Â Its all about keeping the USFK gravy train rolling.
With the Koreans committed to delay tactics, I think General Bell should explore the possibility of setting a goal to either have the personnel from Yongsan Garrison or the 2nd Infantry Division move to Camp Humphreys by 2009.Â This would be at least be a start to breaking the status quo in USFK.Â At least move something by 2009.Â If General Bell wants to see an expanded Camp Humphreys built in record time announce that only Yongsan Garrison will relocate to Camp Humphreys and that the 2nd Infantry Division will redeploy back to CONUS by 2009.Â That will cause a reaction in South Korea that is sure to show that the government here that the US military is committed to transforming the force on the peninsula.