Police surround Seongju residents protesting the delivery of materials to a U.S. THAAD base. (Yonhap News)
Residents in the central town of Seongju were locked in a standoff with police and military personnel Wednesday over the delivery of more materials and equipment to a base housing an American missile defense system in the area.
A few dozen residents and activists staged a sit-in protest in the morning to try and block the passage of vehicles heading to the base for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system.
But it did not last long, according to the Ministry of Defense, as police managed to disperse the crowd to allow for the "successfully delivery of the non-weapon materials."
Three residents were injured during the process and transferred to a nearby hospital.
The ministry earlier informed that it was planning to move electricity equipment and construction equipment to the base, which it said had "nothing to do with the THAAD battery capabilities."
However, protesters suspected the shipment was a necessary step in improving the anti-ballistic missile system.
Local residents have long been opposed to the stationing of the battery in their village, located some 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, citing environmental and other concerns.
The U.S. base was established in 2017 amid strong opposition from China and North Korea.
South Korea and the U.S. have stressed that the system aims to better cope with North Korea's growing missile threats.
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