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Hundreds of civic group members and local residents held protest rally in Seoul December 7, calling for an overhaul of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) governing the legal rights of U.S. troops in Korea. At the rally, held in front of the War Memorial of Korea in Yongsan, participants also demanded a thorough investigation into the Nogun-ri incident. Among the demonstrators were scores of Nogun-ri residents.

The protest rally was organized by the People's Action for Reform of the Unjust ROK-U.S. SOFA Agreement, a coalition of some 110 civic groups (Including GKU). The gathering was timed with the week-long talks between South Korea and the United States on the SOFA revision, which was scheduled to be concluded by the 7th of December.

Warning against possible further aggravation of anti-U.S. sentiment in South Korea, GKU called on the U.S. administration to include new environmental provisions in the SOFA along with other sensitive issues. In addition to the inclusion of new environmental clauses in the revised SOFA, the Seoul government should be allowed access to U.S. military facilities for the constant supervision and monitoring of environmental problems.

Green Korea United released a report on environmental pollution cases involving U.S. Forces Korea (USFK). In the report, GKU said instances of environmental contamination by U.S. bases in Korea have dramatically increased over the past decade.

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The report said there was only one USFK environmental pollution case per year in the early 1990s, but the figure surged to three to four per year in the late 1990s. "This year alone, there were nine cases related to U.S. troops, accounting for about 35 percent of the total number of environmental contamination cases registered since 1990," said Kim Ta-kyun, director of GKU.

He said 15 of the 35 cases involved oil spills, followed by eight cases of excessive noise and tremors, five cases of water pollution resulting from waste disposal, four cases of illegal reclamation and three cases of excessive use of pesticides.

"If the trend is left unchecked, we are certain to have many more USFK-related environmental problems in the future and this is why strong new environmental clauses should be included in the ongoing SOFA revision," Kim said.
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  1. 2012.08.06 17:49 신고
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