origins of US Bases in Pyeongtaek
Sino-Japanese War and Russo-Japanese War
bases in Pyeongtaek first arrived during the Sino-Japan
War. From 1894-95, in an attempt to take control
of Korea, China and Japan went to war. However, the
war took place neither in China or Japan, but in Korea.
broke out between the two countries, and Japan emerged
in a great victory. One can only imagine how hard both
sides fought. Even today, through oral history, people
describe the fighting as if the ¡°city of Asan
and Pyeongtaek were ready collapse.¡±
1904-05, Japan waged a war with Russia in the (Russo-Japanese
War). Again, however, this war was fought not on Japanese
or Russian soil, but in Korea. Pyeongtaek again became
an outpost for foreign military bases.
Construction of Japanese Bases in Paengsong, Anjungri
victorious from two wars, Japan was able to use Korea
as a stepping stone for its colonial advance. Thus during
the early years of World War II, in 1941, the Japanese
established bases in Paengsong and Anjungri. If Pyeongtaek
residents survived the initial occupation, they were
mobilized by the Japanese to aid in the construction
of bases. The equipment they used were nothing more
then picks and shovels. Using human strength, hangars
and bases were built where farms and hills existed.
Many people also died as parts of mountains collapsed
while digging roads. Japanese bases occupied an area
of about 300,000-400,000 pyeong. Residents were forced
off the land, but despite stripping away their land,
they were not compensated a single penny.
Liberation and Entrance of the US Military
soon as Korea became liberated, the Japanese base in
Anjungri was taken over by the US military. Other Japanese
bases also remained. Equipment and facilities used by
the Japanese also remained
US military units began expanding, nearby residents
were employed as ¡°house boys¡± by the US military or
in construction projects. Children aged 15-16 were also
ordered by US servicemen to clean or run errands.
the US military used bulldozers to construct bases,
in a short span of time, hills and farm fields were
converted into military facilities. Once again, residents
from surrounding villages such as Daechuri, Anjungri,
Doojungri, Hamjungri, Naeri, or Dongcahngri were not
given any say as their land was taken away
US obviously expanded bases during the Korean War. But
even after the war, the bases continued to expand. In
2005, the base at Anjungri (Camp Humphreys) today covers
an area of 1,500,000 pyeong
Origins of Osan Airbase at Songtan
Air Base was built at the height of the Korean War on
December 1952. Villagers in Yari, Jungbongri, Shinyari,
and Gamagol were removed from their land in the process.
Some residents left for other cities such as Seoul,
Yongin, Pyeongtaek, and Ansan. But others had no where
to go and gathered by the bank of Jinwooi stream.
villagers spent a miserable winter in a few tents, living
off flour and rice distributed by the U.S. Army. As
spring approached, the villagers built huts, but lost
everything due to flooding. The villagers experienced
much blood and tears living as wanderers without a home.
the war, the U.S. continued to expand Osan Air Base.
In 1960, rumors spread that the Ministry of National
Defense (MND) would compensate villagers. But instead,
the money was given to land brokers, even including
the MND officials who managed the base land property.
Of course, after forming the ¡°Resident Commission to
Facilitate the Withdrawal of the Air Base,¡± and only
after years of fighting, were some people able to receive
compensation. Currently in 2005, after expanding Osan
Air Base 13 times, the base covers more than 2,000,000
pyeong of land.
Imminent Domain Land Takeover in Pyeongtaek
August 8, 2005, the Ministry of National Defense (MND)
announced it would begin the process of imminent domain
and take by force the remaining 1,200,000 pyeong of
land not yet purchased by the MND.
officials state on August 8 that of the 3,490,000 pyeong
of future land necessary for base expansion in Pyoengtaek
and Paengsong, and Osan Air Base, deliberations over
2,290,000 million pyeong of land have already been concluded.
According to the Land Management Project Board, the
arbitration process over the remaining 1,200,000 pyeong
of land will be proposed in September. The arbitration
judgment will be concluded in November. And in December,
the process of land take over will likely begin.
200 families live on 680,000 pyeong of land not yet
transferred to the MND (650,000 pyeong in the Paengsong
region and 30,000 pyeong around Osan Air Base). Land
not yet transferred also includes 200,000 pyeong owned
by Sejong University, and 208,000 pyeong of land whose
ownership and registration is unclear. Also included
are ancestral and inherited land. The end of November
is the tentative date when the arbitration process for
the Land Management Process is decided. The MND stated
that if land owners request to sign an agreement before
this date, they would deal with the [land transfer]
process. The MND also stated, ¡°There will be no significant
difference in compensation between those who sign an
agreement with the MND and those who seek compensation
last August, of the entire 3,490,000 pyoneg of land
to be transferred for base expansion, 96% of the land
for Osan Air Base and 60% of the land in the Paengsong
region (Camp Humphreys) has been signed and transferred
to the MND.