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PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — Farmers and activists resisting Camp Humphreys’ expansion Tuesday rejected a South Korean government ultimatum that they quit any further obstruction, defense ministry officials said.

The move sets the stage for eventual deployment of South Korean military forces to Pyeongtaek to wrest control of the contested farmlands near Camp Humphreys.

South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense had given the farmers until noon Tuesday to say whether they would agree to halt any further illegal rice-farming or actions on the contested lands that would harm or obstruct government personnel.

But the resisters rejected the ultimatum, which defense ministry officials issued Monday night during a three-hour meeting between themselves and three resistance representatives.

The resisters include local farmers and other residents, and political activists who’ve helped organize opposition to the Camp Humphreys expansion.

Defense ministry officials said they would weigh their next moves and timetable in light of Tuesday’s development.

Resistance leaders could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

In 2005, the government bought 2,328 acres of farmland to enable Camp Humphreys to become the main U.S. military installation in South Korea. The plan, which would see the base triple in size, is part of a U.S.-South Korea agreement.

Most residents moved out, but others have refused to leave.

Officials have said that if the resisters didn’t agree to the demands, they would deploy military engineer units and contingents of civilian workers to halt the farming, fence off the contested lands and oust resistance leaders from their barricaded makeshift headquarters inside the Daechu-ri Elementary School grounds. The school borders part of Camp Humphreys.

The ministry recently sent letters giving the holdouts until the end of June to leave, Father Mun Jyeong-hyeon, the Catholic priest helping to lead anti-expansion resistance, said Monday.

Representing the government at Monday night’s meeting were Maj. Gen. Park Kyung-seo, chief of the defense ministry’s U.S. Forces Korea relocation project, and civilian Jung Tae-yong, military policy assistant to defense minister Yoon Kwang-woong.

The relocation plan calls for U.S. forces eventually to move out of areas in and north of Seoul and concentrate in regional hubs in Pyeongtaek and in the Daegu-Busan region.

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