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South Korea Building New Base for Rapid Reaction to Pyongyang’s Moves

© AP Photo / Ahn Young-joonA South Korean army soldier uses a pair of binoculars during an anti-terror drill ahead of the 2014 Incheon Asian Games outside of Incheon Asiad Main Stadium in Incheon, South Korea, Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014
A South Korean army soldier uses a pair of binoculars during an anti-terror drill ahead of the 2014 Incheon Asian Games outside of Incheon Asiad Main Stadium in Incheon, South Korea, Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014 - Sputnik International
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South Korea has unveiled a plan to open a new naval base on a southern resort island of Jeju to host a rapid-reaction force that will respond to "provocations" from the North, local media reported Sunday.

TOKYO (Sputnik) — Capt. Kang Dong-kil, in charge of the construction, said that the new military base was 96 percent complete and was set to open in January, as cited by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.

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Yonhap said that Seoul would be able to launch ships against the North from the new base "in a dramatically shortened amount of time."

The cost of the construction is estimated at some $882.3 million. The military base complex will house a Navy office, residential facilities and separate harbors for 20 combat ships and larger cruisers.

South and North Korea remain legally at war, as no peace treaty was signed after the Korean War of 1950-1953.

Long-standing tensions between the two countries escalated again in late August when cross-border artillery fire erupted along the Demilitarized Zone, prompting Pyongyang to declare what it described as a "semi-state of war." The two countries eventually defused tensions in a series of talks.

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