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Nearly 9 million square meters of land to be freed up by military

All Headlines 15:56 December 30, 2009

SEOUL, Dec. 30 (Yonhap) -- The defense ministry said Wednesday it will free up nearly 9 million square meters of land for civilian use that had been designated as off-limits by the military.

The move, which will take effect on Thursday, is the latest in an ongoing effort by the South Korean government to hand back what it considers a surplus of requisitioned land to civilian hands.

"The ministry will continue to push deregulation efforts to promote the property rights of people as long as it doesn't interfere with military operations," the Ministry of National Defense said in a statement.

A total of 8.96 million square meters of land from Gyeonggi Province, Gangwon Province and South Gyeongsang Province will be freed up for civilian use, the ministry said.

South Korea operates one of the largest militaries in the region, maintaining 655,000 troops. It plans to scale the number down as part of a long-term defense plan that includes the modernization of its forces.

The ministry has either freed up or relaxed regulations on 450 million square meters of military land since 2007 when a law calling for such moves was passed.

samkim@yna.co.kr
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