South Korea may extend deadline on Humphreys plan
SEOUL — South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense is considering a U.S. request to extend the deadline for a “master plan” on expanding the U.S. Army’s Camp Humphreys, officials confirmed Friday.
An MND spokesman said officials were reviewing the U.S. proposal. He was unable to provide additional details.
The Korea Times reported Friday, however, that the MND had accepted the U.S. proposal in mid-April and set a new deadline in September.
U.S. Forces Korea officials were unable to comment on the report Friday afternoon.
The master plan, detailing construction timetables, designs and costs, originally was to be presented in June, according to the Korea Times report.
Under an agreement between the two countries, the United States will hand back most of its military bases across the peninsula and consolidate its forces. South Korea, in return, will provide about 2,300 acres of land to allow Camp Humphreys to triple in size and become a major U.S. military hub.
Also on Friday, MND officials confirmed they will use about 15 miles of barbed-wire fencing to keep people from farming contested lands the government wants to use for the Humphreys expansion.
The fences will go up before May 10, a spokesman confirmed Friday.
Earlier this week, MND official Brig. Gen. Gyeong Jang-ho said South Korean military units would be used to help force protesters off the land before May 10. Both civilian contract workers and military engineer troops would aid the effort against the farmers, Gyeong said.
In addition, Gyeong said officials are exploring whether to declare the farmlands a military zone, which would include establishing checkpoints and other restrictions to public access.
MND officials said Friday that South Korean military forces would be used to guard the barbed-wire fences.
In earlier violent clashes, farmers and protesters have prevented contractors and Korean National Police from filling in irrigation canals and digging trenches in farming roads.
Pyeongtaek police confirmed an April 26 incident in which about 1,000 fliers protesting the Humphreys expansion were strewn about a residential apartment complex.