WASHINGTON (Kyodo) The government of Guam opposes expanding the local military zone by building new facilities to accept some 8,000 U.S. Marines from Okinawa, as agreed to by Japan and the United States, according to a letter it has sent to a navy official.
The move is an apparent reminder by the U.S. Pacific territory, which has accepted the planned transfer itself, for Washington to move the marines in a way that will entail no additional facilities, but may signal a further delay in the transfer if the two sides take a long time finding common ground.
Jackalyne Pfannenstiel, assistant secretary of the navy in charge of energy, installations and environmental issues, received the letter dated Friday. She said before a congressional panel last week that the transfer could be delayed beyond the current 2014 target, noting a shortage of local infrastructure.
The Defense Department then indicated completing the transfer in 2017 is an option.
A senior Guam official says in the letter that concerns persist over the possibility the Pentagon will enlarge the existing zone to deal with the marines’ transfer, noting more than one-third of the island is already under military control.
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