Navy to build new base on Yellow Sea border island
he Navy will build a new advance base on a tense border island in the Yellow Sea to bolster naval defense in the area and protect local residents, officials said Tuesday.
Officials said the city of Incheon recently approved a project to construct the naval base on Baengnyeong Island, located just south of the western maritime border with North Korea. The island falls under the jurisdiction of the metropolitan city. The new base will cover nearly 24,000 square meters of reclaimed land.
The Navy had asked for the city's green light on the project in November last year. The plan includes construction of docks for naval vessels and other on-ground facilities.
The Defense Installations Agency, under the defense ministry, will oversee the construction work, which is scheduled to start at the end of this month and finish by late 2014 on a budget of 42.5 billion won ($36.6 million).
According to officials, the new base and its barracks will be able to accommodate a squadron-sized unit with up to 100 troops.
Baengnyeong Island lies just south of the Northern Limit Line (NLL), a de facto maritime border drawn by the U.N. forces at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. Waters near the NLL have been the site of deadly naval skirmishes and armed provocations by North Korea, which refuses to recognize the NLL.
The North bombed nearby Yeonpyeong Island in November 2010, killing two Marines and two civilians. In response, South Korea added missiles to existing units on both Yeonpyeong and Baengnyeong, and also set up a new Northwest Islands Defense Command under the Marine Corps. (Yonhap)