Some locals in Seongju County, Gyeongsangbuk-do Province have been demonstrating for months against the government's construction of the THAAD anti-missile base, but the defense ministry said again Tuesday that it cannot keep delaying the installation of basic sanitary facilities, which it says are urgently needed.
"We will do our best to persuade local residents, but because the troops stationed at the base are living in very poor conditions, we cannot wait forever. Therefore, while we will do our best to solve the matter through dialogue, we will have no choice but to take other measures once our options are exhausted."
However, the ministry declined to give specific examples of what those measures might be.
Last week, the government attempted to bring construction materials to the THAAD base, but they were blocked by local residents and civic groups who have been illegally occupying the road to the site for the past several months.
After a 90-minute clash, the government and representatives of the locals decided to resolve the matter through negotiations, and as of Tuesday afternoon, those talks are still ongoing.
"We are trying to resolve the matter through dialogue with local residents as far as we possibly can. It might seem like it's going slowly, but we are doing our best in accordance with procedures and plans."
Currently, some four-hundred soldiers, from both South Korea and the U.S., have been stationed at the U.S. missle defense system base for the past several months.
They deployed two radars and two launching pads in March and April last year, and an additional four launchers in September.
The defense ministry said what's urgent now is basic sanitary facilities for those troops, not work related to the anti-missile defense system itself.
Park Ji-won, Arirang News.