April 11 (UPI) — A South Korean military decision to begin additional construction at the anti-missile defense base in Seongju may lead to clashes between protesters and army personnel, according to local reports.
Negotiations between South Korea’s defense ministry and activists broke down on Wednesday, after the group asked the military to allow one civilian, a group member, into the THAAD site to conduct inspections after construction, Yonhap reported.
The negotiations have been ongoing and the activists had agreed the military could begin housing construction and the building of a sewage system.
But the two sides could not reach a consensus regarding a request to permit an activist to assess the new buildings on base.
Kang Hyun-wook, a spokesman for a coalition of six anti-THAAD groups, said the lack of cooperation from the military is to be blamed for the breakdown in talks.
“We made a lot of concessions but negotiations collapsed when the defense ministry refused to allow one resident to enter the site,” Kang said, according to Yonhap.
The construction is to be carried out as planned, but the 12 semi-trailers, eight dump trucks and more than 30 minibuses and other vehicles are expected to be confronted by protesters at the base entrance on Thursday.
Newsis reported Wednesday more than 130 U.S. military personnel and 270 South Korean soldiers are stationed at the relatively new base.
The military has been facing issues with the disposal of sewage and wastewater on the site because it was originally a golf course designed to accommodate a maximum of 150 people, according to the report.
The THAAD anti-missile defense system was fully deployed in April 2017, and was placed to deter incoming missiles at high altitudes.