The U.S. returned four military bases to South Korea: Camps Eagle and Long in Wonju, Camp Market in Bupyeong and the Shea Range parcel at Camp Hovey in Dongducheon.
The return of these installations were delayed for the past decade due to disagreement regarding costs and methods of decontamination.
The two sides agreed at the 200th joint committee meeting of the Status of Forces Agreement at Camp Humphreys held Wednesday that the bases be returned on the condition that the allies continue consultations on base decontamination.
"South Korea and the U.S. have agreed to immediately return the four bases on the condition that the two sides continue consultations on determining responsibilities for the decontamination of current bases used by U.S. Forces Korea. The two sides also agreed to initiate the return process of the Yongsan Garrison in accordance to SOFA rules."
The government estimates the costs to cleanse the returned four bases could reach more than 92-million U.S. dollars depending on the conditions of the facilities.
And unless Seoul makes progress in negotiations with the U.S., it looks like the costs for cleansing the bases will be shouldered by the South Korean government.
Up until now, the U.S. has cited its so-called Known Imminent Substantial Endangerment to Human Health, or KISE principle, which is an abstract standard in considering paying the costs associated with the return of U.S. bases.
Specifics on the return of Seoul's Yongsan Garrison were not detailed other than the fact that some U.S. bases there are being moved to Camp Humphreys, a U.S. military complex in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul.
"After the return process is complete, the Garrison is to become a national park as initially planned 14 years ago. Officials said the decision to return the bases were not influenced by the defense cost-sharing talks between the two allies.
Kim Ji-yeon, Arirang News."