The Republic of Korea Navy is set to construct a new frontline naval base to boost its presence on the fringe of the Yellow Sea which divides North and South Korea.
Approval has been given by the South Korean government to build on a 23,849 square metre-sized patch on Baengnyeong island.
Set to cost over $36m to develop, the new Republic of Korea naval base is due to be finished by the end of 2014, according to a report published by the Yonhap news organisation. The same source added that the base will have a permanent detachment of around 100 troops and feature a training ground and, potentially, a dock capable of launching small destroyer-type vessels.
Korean Border Naval Base
Baengnyeong island is among a group of five sited close to the North/South Korean border established by the UN after the Korean War. North Korea, unwilling to accept the demarcation, has consistently pushed for a new boundary line to be drawn up and the existing border has seen much combat action in recent years, most recently in 2010.
The Republic of Korea Navy was established in 1945, so is the oldest element of the Republic of Korea Armed Forces. In 2010, it employed close to 70,000 naval personnel and was equipped with approximately 170 ships. Among these were about 20 warships, 12 submarines and around 100 fast attack craft and corvettes.
The Republic of Korea Navy has been operationally-deployed on several occasions, having been involved in the Korean War, the Vietnam War and, more recently, the War on Terrorism.
New South Korean Naval Base
The new South Korea naval base will, potentially, be the country's eighth, joining the existing facilities at Jinhae, Busan, Donghae, Pyeongtaek, Mokpo, Incheon and Pohang.
In related news, it's been reported that North Korea has just put the finishing touches to a new naval base located just 50 kilometres away from Baengnyeong island. Site to the north, it seems it will be used to launch and recover amphibious troop-carrying vessels.