2011: A Naval Base on Jeju Island. An evaluation

By Shin Young-In, Jeju Island lawyer
August, 2011

Quelle: http://cafe.daum.net/peacekj/I51g/150
*Translated by Youngsil Kang and Gangjeong Translation team/ edited by Jay & Karen, Alpha
* Original Korean version (국문 원문):   http://cafe.daum.net/peacekj/49kU/814

1. Introduction
2. Problems of constructing a naval base on Jeju Island
(1) Employment of expedited processes and placation during the location selection process
(2) Unlawful nullification of an Absolute Preservation Area
(3) Abuse of governmental powers and the possibility of a second April 3rd Massacre
(4) Questionable effect of new naval base in Jeju for national security
(5) Problematic effect on local economy
(6) Potential victimization from the hegemonic struggle between the U.S. and China
(7) Civilian and military complex tourist port?

3. Historical significance of the struggle against the naval base in Jeju Island
(1) Overcome a recurring painful history
(2) Learning from the pain and regrets of the Jeju April 3rd Inciden
(3) Regeneration of the island of life and peace
(4) Contribution to the peaceful reunification of Korea and to peace in Northeast Asia

4. Closing

1. Introduction

Jeju Island has long been reputed for its exceptional beauty and natural heritage, having been designated in all three categories of UNESCO Natural Science – a Biosphere Reserve in 2002, a World Heritage Site in 2007, a Global Geological Park in 2010 – and recently paving the way towards being renowned as one of the New Seven Natural Wonders of the World under the compassionate support of many. At the same time, it is a place of resentment and much agony, being home to the April 3rd Massacre, where tens of thousands of innocent locals were indiscriminately killed by the abuse of government power during the transitional period of the Cold War and the Korean War following liberation from Japanese colonization.

Despite the facts above, the natural environment and the local communities of Jeju Island are currently being destroyed at the risk of repeating the resentment and agony of the April 3rd Massacre due to the unlawful construction of a naval base by the Government. Lives and peace are at stake.

Accordingly, this article seeks to look into depth and in detail the concerns and problems entailed by this construction of a naval base on Jeju Island and consequently contend the historical value of the current resistance movement against its enforcement.

2. Problems of constructing a naval base on Jeju Island

(1) Employment of expedited processes and placation during the location selection process

From the beginning, Gangjeong Village was not even a potential location for construction of a naval base. From 1999 to 2001, Hwabuk-hang, Sungsan-ilchul-bong, Sinyang-ri, Hwasun-hang, areas of Hyungjae-do, and Moseul-po were examined as potential locations. Among these places, Hwasun-hang had been selected as the most appropriate. As such, during this time Gangjeong Village was not even considered. However during March of 2007, the Navy abruptly examined the eight locations of Hwasun, Walpyung-dong, Gangjeong-dong, Wimi-ri, Tosan-ri, Onpyung-ri, and Aewal-eup(Gonae/Sineum-ri), Gosan-ri and decided that Gangjeong Village was most appropriate for construction. This cannot be dismissed without commenting that the whole process appears to have been planned in advance with an internal decision already set on specifying Gangjeong Village as the construction site for the naval base.

The population of Gangjeong Village is around 1,900 in total, with the actual electorate standing at around 1,050. However, at an ad hoc meeting of the residents of the Village on April 26th 2007, with only 87 residents presiding, the location for the construction of the naval base was resolved to be Gangjeong Village. Surprisingly, not one single public presentation or public hearing had taken place in Gangjeong Village before this resolution.

On April 11th 2007, the Governor of Jeju Island announced that whether the hosting location for the naval base was to be Gangjeong Village or not was to be decided by a public opinion poll. Instead of carrying out the poll for the residents of Gangjeong Village, who are directly related to the issue concerned, the poll was conducted on the much broader boundary of residents from all Daechun-dong including Gangjeong Village, whilst the Navy at the same time carried out extensive one-sided promotion on the benefits of the construction. As such biased conditions of the poll lead to a favorable decision of the construction, on May 14th 2007, the Governor announced the confirmed decision of hosting the construction of the naval base on Gangjeong Village. The accountability and the fairness of this public opinion poll are still being questioned.

Following the resolution the residents of Gangjeong Village, who could not accept such an undue decision, tried to organize an assembly to hold fair voting by local residents. However, police forces were put in the scene to discourage and nullify such a movement. This resulted in seizure of the ballot box. Notwithstanding such events, the residents of Gangjeong Village organized a Local Referendum on August 20th 2007 with the participation of 725 residents, showing the result of 680 residents, 94% of those participating, against hosting the naval base construction.

How was the previous resolution duly possible with the participation of only a fraction of the total number of Village residents? How was it that the public opinion poll had been interpreted to indicate a dominant majority of residents in favor? One cannot overlook the possibility of conspiracy and undue procedure involved. All the same, with this problematic resolution as a basis of local support, the Government and the Navy continue to enforce the construction of the naval base.

During this manipulated process, the Village residents had been divided into those who supported and those who stood against, which lead to extreme confrontations in the community. Not only did these confrontations occur among friends, but also within families. The psychological distress experienced by the Villagers of Gangjeong from these confrontations has been reported to be devastating.

According to a survey in <seogwipo newspaper=“"> on the investigation of psychological health conditions of Gangjeong residents, which was carried out from September 2nd to 11th 2009, 75.5% of the total number of residents received notes on abnormality: hostility, depression, anxiety and compulsion. Among these results, hostility had been the top listed, affecting of 57% of the total number of residents. Also it was reported that 43.9% of the total number of residents had experienced suicidal impulses, which makes for 5.4 times the average 8.1% of the total population of Jeju Island. The report shows that 34.7% of the residents responded positively to the question of whether they had prepared or attempted suicide. It could be derived that the psychological condition of the residents of Gangjeong Village has been devastated by the conflicts within the community caused by the manipulated location decision process of the naval base construction.</seogwipo>

(2) Unlawful nullification of an Absolute Preservation Area

The most significant piece of legal material in conserving the natural environment of Jeju Island is the Absolute Preservation Area Act. This Act was adopted when the Jeju Island Development Act was enacted on December 31st 1991. Its goal is to conserve the natural environment from the unrestricted surge of development and to preserve the original natural beauty of Jeju Island permanently by designating certain areas as Absolute Preservation Areas.

When a certain area is classified as an Absolute Preservation Area – in order to permanently conserve the original characteristics of that area – construction of architecture, establishment of structures, alteration of form and quality of land, and reclamation of public water areas are all prohibited.

According to the statistics of July 28th 2010, 10% of the total area of Jeju Island, in other words 188㎢ have been designated an Absolute Preservation Area. Included in this classification are of course, Halla Mountain and Sungsan-ilchul-bong. Consequently, this Absolute Preservation Area designation scheme serves as the very basis of the system of conserving the natural environment of Jeju Island.

The coastal areas of Gangjeong Village were given this Absolute Preservation Area status on October 27th 2004 for the reasons of having been named by UNESCO a Biosphere Reserve, World Heritage, and a Marine Protected Area. Also these areas had already been renowned as a part of an Olle Course for their exceptional scenic beauty. Notwithstanding these concrete efforts for preservation, the Governor unlawfully and unilaterally nullified the designation of the Absolute Preservation Area status of the coastal areas of Gangjeong Village for the reason of constructing a naval base as a government project.

If this kind of unlawful nullification is tolerated, it could create a precedent that justifies the nullification of Absolute Preservation Areas under the name of executing a government project. This would put Halla Mountain and Sungsan-ilchul-bong under the same danger of nullification and destruction. It could lead to serious damage to the whole system of natural environmental protection of Jeju Island, which would mean much more than just being deprived by the Government the right to maintain Mountain Halla.

(3) Abuse of governmental powers and the possibility of a second April 3rd Massacre

Despite all the problems displayed above, the Government and the Navy continue to enforce the construction, ignoring protests from not only the people of Jeju Island but also the five Opposition Parties. Moreover, they have charged, arrested and even imprisoned local residents and activists who tried to protest against such enforcement. According to the National Police Agency statistics, from year 2007 up until August 2nd 2011, a total of 134 people (4 with detention, 130 without detention) had been put under legal procedures for the violation of Law on Assembly and Demonstration and for the offenses of Obstruction of Duty. Currently, seven more, including the Village Representative Kang Dong-Kyun, have been arrested.

Moreover, as the City of Seogwipo tried to withhold the decision of stripping the village its right to the National Agricultural Roads within the naval base construction location area, in order to consider the position of the residents of Gangjeong Village, the Central Government threatened to enforce criminal penalties and administrative disadvantages to the public officials and servants involved. As a result, the City of Seogwipo, being under such oppressive threats, gave up these rights, and the Mayor held a press conference apologizing with the words, ‘please excuse me for not having been able to protect the locals of Gangjeong Village’.

Recently, the Government and the Ruling Party tried to overcome their defeat in the Free Meal Project Referendum by creating a political atmosphere where national security is being threatened, specifying Gangjeong Village as the source. Consequently, the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office held a Meeting for Countermeasures to overcome threats to national security, and indicated the locals of Gangjeong Village as such violators, announcing that all those participating in any illegal acts will be tracked down and arrested. Also a Task Force was organized and sent to Jeju Island lead by a former SWAT team leader, and all authorizations for assembly that had already been registered for Gangjeong Village were regarded as illegal and became prohibited. The Court granted injunctions to increase penalties for protests against the construction of the naval base by the local inhabitants of Gangjeong Village. On the dawn of September 2nd 2011, one thousand police arrived from the mainland and indiscriminately and brutally arrested and exercised forces on locals and activists, ignoring the yearn of the absolute majority of the local residents to solve the problem by means of a peaceful process. This lead many to be reminded of the tragic experience of the April 3rd Massacre, when the mainland forces were sent to Jeju Island to kill indiscriminately tens of thousands of locals.

As demonstrated above, the Government is abusing its powers by violating the human rights of its people under the name of protecting national security, reenacting a second April 3rd Massacre on Jeju Island where the resentment and agony has still not been forgotten.

(4) Questionable effect of new naval base in Jeju for national security

The Korean government and the Navy argue that they need to construct new naval base in Gangjeong in Jeju Island for national security to protect the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the southern sea and Sea Lane of Communication (SLOC). That is questionable considering the following facts.

Firstly, the Korean maritime police mentioned that it is their responsibility, not the Korean Navy’s, to protect the Exclusive Economic Zone and the Sea Lane of Communication. As an exceptional case, the Navy escorts the maritime patrols when they control illegal fishing vessels around the five northern islands near the Northern Limit Line (close to the North Korean area), but they have never experienced any emergent situations that require the Navy to intervene and escort ships around Jeju island.

Secondly, the Jeju naval base was planned as a part of the Blue Water Navy (Ocean-going Navy) policy, but the policy itself was almost abolished after the Cheonan sinking, which led the Navy to be more focused on the existing threat from North Korea such as local provocations.

Thirdly, the territorial dispute between China and South Korea on the Socotra Rock (Ieodo) cannot justify the construction of a naval base in Jeju Island. The comment from the Grand National Party’s leader on sending out the Korean Marine Corps to the Liancourt Rocks (Dokdo) was heavily criticized as dangerous and unrealistic thinking by one of the officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade since it can lead Korea into potential military clashes with Japan. In the same vein, the idea of using the Navy from the naval base in Jeju for the potential dispute on the Socotra Rock (Ieodo) with China would also be extremely dangerous.

Fourthly, the construction of a new naval base will require additional land and air power in Jeju island to protect the base, and that would make Jeju a large scale military base which is contradictory to the image of Jeju as an island of peace. SungJeon Kim, a military strategist mentioned that Jeju is not suitable for a large scale military base and can also be a potential target of massive attack or can even be utilized as an enemy fortress if it is occupied by enemies.

Considering the above facts, the benefits of the new naval base in Jeju in terms of national security are questionable. Some critics denounce this plan as a pork-barrel project from the Korean Navy trying to increase its own budget and influence in the name of national security.

(5) Problematic effect on local economy

The Ministry of National Defense in Korea advertized that the new naval base in Jeju would create economic effects equivalent to 90 billion won (about 90 million dollars, including consumption from solders, job creation, tourism) and also produce a benefit of 380 billion won (about 380 million dollars) for local companies with new construction of harbors and apartments for military personnel. But this effect is seriously exaggerated.

Firstly, it is questionable how much consumption would be created by the military personnel in the local markets since most of soldiers buy supplies inside their bases. The previous construction of naval bases in other parts of Korea actually contributed to the reduction of the local population and market, for instance in Songjungdong in Donghae (12,252 in APR 1980 to 5,383 in 2006) and Jungandong in Jinhae (7,712 in 2000 to 5,220 in 2006). Notably, Songjungdong in Donghae used to be one of the best summer resorts in the region, but 60~70% of stores around the area closed down from the decreasing population (related report page 2). Also the land prices in these areas have been constantly decreasing, and they had less transaction of real estate in comparison to the surrounding area.

Regarding job creation, the 1st fleet in Donghae made just 25 new jobs, the 2nd fleet in Pyongtaek made 39, the 3rd fleet in Pusan made 26 and the Jinhae naval base made 65. But most of these positions were low income jobs like janitors and did not contribute to the employment of the younger generation (related report page 3).

Regarding tourism value, no city or island with naval bases (Singapore, Sidney, Hawaii, Guam) ever advertized them for tourism since they have no value as a tourist site. (related report page 10)

On the contrary, the new naval base in Jeju could seriously reduce the value of tourism in Jeju as in Songjungdong in Donghae. A base in Gangjeong, located between Jungmun resort and Seogwipo, famous sites for tourism, could seriously damage the tourism industry. Seogwipo is already experiencing a recession, and the naval base would exacerbate the situation.

And if the naval base brings US soldiers to the region, that could promote decadent business and culture, detrimental to the younger generations in Jeju. These negative social effects also convince us that the argument about economic benefits of the naval base is not trustworthy.

Professor Changhoon Ko, in the Jeju-Waseda academic conference held in Jeju university on AUG 22nd, claimed that the lesson from Okinawa, which has a US military base, is that a military base, once established in the region, would last even after one or two hundred years, and could seriously damage the area in terms of economy, tourism, the environment, and overall image. This overall damage will be much greater than any immediate loss from the cancelation of the project now. Professor Egami Takahashi said that Jeju Island is the envy of most Okinawan people since there is no military base in Jeju. We should pay attention to these arguments.

(6) Potential victimization from the hegemonic struggle between the U.S. and China

When the U.S. and China had increased tension last Summer, the U.S. warned China that it could dispatch the US Aircraft Carrier, USS George Washington to the Yellow sea, and China harshly reacted with military training. Later, China released a video clip simulating Chinese cruise missiles attacking a US aircraft carrier detected by an unmanned reconnaissance plane in the Zhuhai air show. On July 14th, the US Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mike Mullen, pressured China by emphasizing the importance of a military alliance among the U.S., South Korea, and Japan and also by mentioning that China should be responsible for stability in the Korean peninsula. On the same day, Chen Bingde, the chief of the People’s Liberation Army General Staff heavily criticized the U.S. that the U.S. policy shows its hegemonism. The U.S. also expressed deep concern toward China when China launched its first aircraft carrier on AUG 11th asking why China needs aircraft carrier.

As we can see from this background, the U.S. and China are experiencing intense competition for hegemony in Northeast Asia, and South Korea could be in serious crisis if it gets caught in the middle.

Jeju Island is located in very strategically important position in Northeast Asia, and the new naval base is designed to be large enough to allow aegis, submarines and even aircraft carriers to anchor there. At the same time, according to Article 4 in the ROK-U.S. Mutual Defense Agreement, the U.S. has right to use any kinds of facility in Korea including the new naval base in Jeju.

Therefore, the U.S. would use the base for the purpose of potential attacks against China and the US Aegis Nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers could enter into the base. China could consider this a threat and seek some measures such as warning with military attack, banning tourism to Korea or blockading sea lanes. That would seriously damage the US-China relationship as well as the Korea-China relationship, and Jeju could experience serious reduction of tourists and investments.

The potential reduction in Chinese tourists would be the most problematic issue. Jeju had a drastic increase in the number of Chinese tourists recently (50 thousand in 2000 to 400 thousand in 2010), and the average spending of Chinese tourists per person is almost $1,600, which has contributed to the hotel and transportation business, restaurants, and shopping centers. Jeju expects the economic effects from the Chinese tourists to be the equivalent of $800 million and that is almost ten times of the economic benefits from the naval base assessed by the Ministry of National Defense in Korea.

Therefore, the construction of the new naval base in Jeju could throw cold water on the tourism business. Lü Chao, the director of the Korean Research Center at China’s Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, wrote a column suggesting Chinese tourists boycott tours to the island if Korea establishes a naval base in Jeju. This made clear that the potential reduction of the Chinese tourists is a very serious problem in the economy of Jeju Island.

If a war broke out between the U.S. and China as a worst case scenario, Jeju could be turned into a sea of flame that will cost huge number of lives in Jeju. This reminds us of the nightmare that Japan tried to sacrifice the lives of most people in Jeju during the World War II.

(7) Civilian and military complex tourist port?

The Korean government and the Jeju provincial government have advertized the Jeju naval base in the name of so called “Civilian and military complex tourist port,” but it was discovered on September 6th that they have different titles in their basic agreement. The Ministry of National Defense (MND) used “The Jeju naval base (Civilian and military complex tourist port)” as the main title of this project while the Ministry of Land, Transportation and Maritime affairs (MLTM) and the Jeju provincial government defined this as “Civilian and military complex tourist port.”

Keun-min Woo, the Jeju governor confessed that they agreed to use different titles due to negative public opinion toward the naval base in Jeju which could endanger the project.

Simply speaking, they used the title to deceive people in Jeju in the name of tourism, even though it is fundamentally a military base. The Jeju branch of the opposition parties heavily criticized the Korean government and the Jeju provincial government that they shamelessly deceived the citizens in Jeju .

Keun-min Woo, the Jeju governor, also confessed in a press conference on September 8th that he became skeptical about the idea that two 15 ton-class cruisers can dock at the base simultaneously, as originally planned among MND, MLTM and the Jeju provincial government. In terms of its value for tourism harboring cruises, the Jeju naval base has no difference in its size in comparison to the Jeju outer-port, the existing harbor in Jeju. At the same time, the specialists said that there is almost no chance for any 15 ton-class cruisers to anchor in the new naval base in Jeju considering the current trend in the world market of the cruise industry. After all, the Korean government and the Jeju provincial government lied about the usefulness of the naval base in terms of attracting cruises for tourism.

3. Historical significance of the struggle against the naval base in Jeju Island

(1) Overcome a recurring painful history

Jeju is one of the fringes of the Korean Peninsula which makes up only one percent of the area of the country. Historically, Jeju Island has come under relentless domination and exploitation by the central Korean government; and the leaders of Jeju have not acted out of interest for their citizens, but instead have looked only at the central government for direction. Thus, Jeju has become the center of a recurring painful history and has been torn into pieces according to the interests of the central government.

Over the past few years Jeju has been suffering very badly due to naval base construction issues. The central government is unilaterally pushing through their plans to build the Jeju naval base, ignoring the wishes of Jeju residents. Jeju leaders, including the Governor, continue perform their duties in line with the will of the central government, rather than standing in support of the position of Jeju residents. A couple well-known examples of this are the Governor’s unauthorized „lifting“ of the absolute conservation area designation, and the Seogwipo city mayor’s closing down of the farm road for construction purposes. The local community in Gangjeong Village continues to experience conflict and division because of their positions for and against the naval base construction, and the conflict has escalated to the point of destroying the community, as the hostility has divided neighbors, relatives, and even family. Again, Jeju is being shaken and torn.

If Jeju naval base is built like this, the painful history in Jeju will continue to repeat itself in the future. Jeju residents will continue to take their place on the fringes, in their resignation, and they will be forced to live a life of submission. If this struggle against the Navy base is won, and the Navy base construction is scrapped, however, this will be a historic occasion that can help to overcome the painful history of Jeju Island. It will provide a foundation for the creation of a future by the hands of Jeju residents, without being controlled by the interests of the central government.

(2) Learning from the pain and regrets of the Jeju April 3rd Incident

The Jeju April 3rd Incident is one of the great tragedies of Korea’s modern history. Tens of thousands of Jeju residents were ruthlessly slaughtered in the course of the Cold War and the national division that followed liberation from Japanese occupation. At that time, there may have been no one among Jeju citizens whose relatives were not sacrificed. Nevertheless, the simple truth of the Jeju April 3rd Incident was buried for decades in the dark. But thanks to the Truth Commission on the Jeju April 3rd Incident, which was established in the 1980s, a special law was enacted in the year 2000 regarding the April 3rd Incident. The report of the Truth Commission on the April 3rd Incident was published on November 15, 2003. It mentioned the faults of the US army and of President Syng-Man Rhee. Also, President Roh Moo-hyun gave an official apology on November 31, 2003, saying, „I, as president taking care of national affairs, give a sincere apology and express my regrets to the survivors and to all Jeju residents for the faults of the national power in the past.“ In addition he insisted, „We have to spread the universal value of peace and human rights for all human beings by learning from the precious lessons of the Jeju April 3rd Incident.“

According to President Roh Moo-hyun, we have the historic responsibility to learn from the pain and the regrets of the April 3rd Incident. From now on, we have to make Jeju Island an island of peace, human rights, and life, by learning the lessons from the sacrifices of the April 3rd Incident. When Jeju finally stands tall as a symbol of peace, human rights and life, the death of the victims of the April 3rd Incident will become meaningful, and their souls will be properly remembered and praised.

But the naval base being built in Jeju has brought the demolition of human rights, peace, and life. Just as with the Jeju April 3rd Incident, numerous people, including the village people in Gangjeong, suffer under government power. If local residents continue to be ignored or silenced on this, it is as if we are ignoring the lessons from the April 3rd Incident making the death of the victims seem worthless. And in the case that the naval base is built and then people continue to memorialize the April 3rd Incident, it would be a complete contradiction.

Therefore, the struggle against the naval base in Jeju is a hot struggle to draw lessons from the Jeju April 3rd Incident and to uphold the universal values of peace, human rights, and life. This struggle is a peace movement that strives to make Jeju Island an island of true peace, human rights, and life.

(3) Regeneration of the island of life and peace

On November 10, 2007, in the early days of the struggle against the naval base, the Gangjeong Village community proclaimed that they would develop their village as a place that would be visited by everyone in the world, while also declaring that their village is one of life and peace. Since then, for about four years now, the community members of Gangjeong have fervently struggled against the naval base in order to protect the life and peace from the construction of a naval base. Also, numerous other Jeju residents, Korean nationals and world citizens are willingly participating in the struggle against the naval base. Their main motivation for the struggle against the naval base in Jeju is not a wish for total disarmament or an anti-war agenda, but instead a zeal to preserve the Gureombi rock and the village community. The essence of the struggle is to actively resist the construction of the naval base in Jeju because it will demolish both the Gureombi rock and the village community. Accordingly, the struggle against the naval base is to protect life against the forces of death. It is a movement to restore the nature which is being destroyed by the greed of humanity, and to restore the broken community.

Therefore, if this struggle against the naval base is won and the Jeju naval base construction project is scrapped, the life and peace that Gangjeong Village desires will be a symbol for Jeju, and Jeju Island will also become an island of life and peace. If so, Jeju will become a place of refreshment for people from all over the world who visit to find rest and healing in the unspoiled nature. It will bring about an end to rivalry and conflicts. And it will lead us in a direction toward peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula, and toward greater peace in Northeast Asia and the whole world. Jeju will stand tall as an island for true life and peace.

(4) Contribution to the peaceful reunification of Korea and to peace in Northeast Asia

The biggest challenge facing our nation today is how to overcome the North-South division system and how to establish peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula. But the process of peaceful reunification requires the understanding and cooperation of both the United States and China. Therefore, Korea should act as a catalyst for peace in Northeast Asia peace and disarmament in the Northeast Asia through by encouraging diplomatic neutrality between the U.S. and China. So, the U.S. and especially China must be convinced that a unified Korea would bring benefit to their security without any risk. When this happens, peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula will come quickly.

However, if the Jeju naval base construction is forced in this way and then later used by the U.S. for military activity against China, it is likely that the military tensions between the U.S. and China will escalate, and that China will view Korea’s reunification as a threat to its security. In that case, the division of Korea would continue and peaceful reunification would be out of reach.

Therefore, the Jeju naval base construction must be scrapped in order to allow for the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula. If the Jeju naval base construction project is scrapped, Jeju Island will make a new leap forward as a holy land for the kind of peace that all in the world sees as peace, and it will become a catalyst for peace and disarmament in Northeast Asia. Jeju Island will contribute to peace in all of Northeast Asia as well as to the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula.

4. Closing

The struggle against the Jeju naval base will be remembered later as a big event in the contemporary history of Jeju Island. The future of Jeju depends greatly on the success or failure of this struggle.

If the government continues to force the construction of this naval base in spite of the great opposition movement, Jeju’s future will become dark. The painful history of the island will be repeated, the lessons of the Jeju April 3rd Incident will be once again ignored, and the division of the peninsula will become deeper. And Korea will once again find itself in the middle of a power struggle between larger countries.

However, if the opposition against the Jeju naval base is successful, a new future for Jeju Island will open up. Jeju as an island of true life and peace, with its beautiful Gureombi rock and restored communities, will stand high. We will accomplish its historic mission to the peaceful reunification of Korean Peninsula and to peace in Northeast Asia.

The Appeal by Gangjeong residents in September 8th, 2011

We appeal to Jeju Island citizen about a naval base on Jeju Island.

Dear Jeju Island citizen,
We were protecting our Gangjeong village by means of nonviolent resistance from the construction of a naval base on Jeju Island by the Korean government. However, the Korean government put down our movement with armed force and has just started their naval base construction again with a police force of over 1,500 including police from outside of Jeju Island.

Our hometown was ruthlessly devastated by the police force after 4.3 Jeju Island massacre in 1948 for the first time, and our residents including activists were arrested indiscriminately. We are now filled with anger and despair at these terrible feelings.

Protecting our Gangjeong village from the construction of naval base on Jeju Island, we have experienced enormous pain, our community was completely shattered, and our ancestral farming land was forcibly taken by the government. To date, more than 50 Gangjeong village residents ended up in the judicial system, and around 200 residents are in judicial process by police. There were tremendous injuries as a result of the assault of police. They are threatening us with a 2 million won fine (around $2,400) if we appear on the construction site. They took our land, charged us fines, clobbered us, and sent us to prison. Now they are trying to make us poor.

Why does it have to happen? Why do innocent suffer so much?? If we were guilty, we loved our hometown, Gangjeong village, and ‘Gureombi Coast.’ Our only guilt is just protecting our ancestral homeland and sea.

Dear Jeju Island citizen,
I think there are some Jeju Island citizens who think we are protecting our movement because we seem to hope for a reward. Also the Jeju Governor would like to think so. According to them, we seem to focus on regional development planning and securing government support only instead of our painful situation.

However, even if they give us billions dollars, we will never discard our hometown and homeland. Furthermore, we will never agree on the construction of a naval base on Jeju Island by the government with their pandering, deception, disregard for the legal process, and all kinds of devilish tricks. The Jeju Island governor should abandon the vain delusion of the regional development plan as conciliation.

Jeju Island citizen,
This armed force and starting naval base construction are violence. The vast majority of Jeju Island citizens were trying to the problem peacefully, but the government crushed our peaceful aspirations and self-esteem. Although the Bronze Age excavated was found in this area, the government continues to construct the naval base. This is not a construction but a destruction of history and identity of Jeju Island. In addition, the government lied with dual signed fraud about the framework convention on naval base. Therefore, we will try to protect our hometown and home land to end until they stop the naval base construction.

However, no matter how much we struggle, we alone cannot stop the construction of naval base in Gangjeong village. Only when the vast majority of Jeju Island citizens disagree with the construction could we could protect the Gangjeong village. Thus, I am asking Jeju Island citizens to help stop naval base construction on our homeland.

If this naval base construction is completed, Jeju Island will be occupied by the Navy. Not only Gangjeong village but also Jeju Island will have doom and gloom in the future. For the peace and independence of Jeju Island, we plead with you, Jeju Island citizen, to participate actively in our protection from a naval base on Gangjeong village.

September 8th, 2011
On behalf of Gangjeong village residents

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