The United States formally ended 70 years of military presence in South Korea’s Capital Seoul on Friday with the opening of a new headquarters farther from the border of North Korea, reported AP. The new headquarters is located at Pyeongtaek, about 70 km south of Seoul.

The US military headquarters in Seoul’s Yongsan neighbourhood was seen as a symbol of the US-South Korea alliance aimed at deterring a North Korean attack. US troops had first arrived there at the end of World War 2.

“Today marks a historic milestone in the history of the United Nations Command which began in 1950 and the history of the ROK [South Korea]-US alliance,” US Forces Korea commander General Vincent Brooks said at a ceremony to mark the relocation of the headquarters, according to The Korea Times.

“Through the opening of the (new) era in Pyeongtaek, I hope that the South Korea-US alliance will evolve into a great alliance beyond the military, comprehensive alliance,” said South Korean President Moon Jae-in in a speech read out by his security aide Lee Sang-chul.

The new 3,510-acre command was built at a cost of $11 billion (approximately Rs 7,500 crore) and is the largest overseas US base. The construction work took about 10 years. More than 90% of the project was funded by the South Korean government.

The relocation comes amid a fledgling detente on the Korean Peninsula, as leaders of US and North Korea held a historic summit on June 12, when North Korea promised to work towards denuclearising the Korean peninsula. On June 23, the US announced an indefinite suspension of several military exercises in the Korean peninsula to comply with an agreement with North Korea.