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SEOUL — The South Korean Ministry of National Defense wants to open lines of communication with protesters with whom they’ve battled over contested lands outside of the U.S. Army’s Camp Humphreys.

The goal, said MND spokesman An Jung-hoon, is to persuade farmers still on the land to vacate 2,328 acres the South Korean government purchased to allow for the expansion of Humphreys. Under a plan between South Korea and the United States, the camp will triple in size in coming years and become the U.S. military’s chief installation in South Korea.

South Korean riot police have skirmished with the protesters several times in recent months. On Friday, MND-contracted workers poured cement into two of the three canals that bring water to the fields where the farmers want to plant rice. Several protesters were injured and several arrested during the clashes on Friday, police said.

The protesters were able to break up the cement over the weekend, MND officials confirmed, and the water was flowing again.

The contested area includes the farming village of Daechu-ri, which borders Camp Humphreys.

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