Chejudo: Protests in the Village

Weekly Appeal for June 26, 2012

No War Base! No War Drill! Yes to Life and Peace Island!
Stop the conspiracy of the Military restriction zone!
The "civilian-military dual-use" base is a lie!
Stop the destruction, human rights violations and pro-nuclear MD policy!

 

 


No war games:  Protests in the Gangjeong village, June 21
(Image source: Gangjeong village)

Korean peace activists held a press conference against the unprecedented naval exercises held in the south Jeju Sea between the U.S., South Korea and Japan, on June 21-22, which included participation by the USS George Washington, an enormous nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. It was the first time that the Japanese Self Defense Forces officially participated in the war drill, rather than in an observer role. Citizens denounced the exercise as part of a plan to form a ROK-US-Japan trilateral alliance and establish a ROK-US-Japan missile-defense system. 

The joint exercises, including search and rescue drills and maritime interdictions, are not for humanitarian purposes, as the military may try to lead people to believe; in fact, they are clearly offensive military drills. In particular, maritime interdictions described in the Proliferation Security Initiative are violation of "freedom of the high seas" and the "rights of innocent passage" guaranteed in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy admiral Yin Zhuo commented that the war drill was to "threaten North Korea and keep China in check." He also said that Seoul, Washington and Tokyo had "taken the first steps toward a 'mini-NATO' in Northeast Asia with their joint military exercises," according to a June 23 report by the Korea Times.

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Daily Summaries

June 20
223 Gangjeong villagers filed a petition to stop construction of the naval base in Gangjeong. The Gangjeong Village Council announced that they are again appealing to Jeju governor Woo Keun Min, based on the Petition Law since Woo has refused to deal with the issue.

Meanwhile, police investigations have been underway into voluntary donations to the Gangjeong Village base resistance movement by citizens across the nation. Gangjeong Mayor Kang Dong-Kyun, has refused to accommodate the investigation. The Jeju police are justifying their investigations into the bank accounts of the Gangjeong Association on charges of violation of the Law on Donation and Its Use.

In the policy meeting on the honorary recovery of April 3 massacre victims and their bereaved families, it was noted that about 69% respondents of the April 3 victims and their families are experiencing stress disability after traumatic injury and 53% of them are showing the symptoms of "survivor syndrome," a higher percentage than those of May 18 massacre in 1980 (about 42%).

At the meeting, a lawyer mentioned that Gangjeong villagers are experiencing increased psychological problems due to the naval base issue and that they should be allowed to use the proposed Trauma Healing Center for victims of state violence. About 75% have been reported to experience depression and 43% have felt the impulse to commit suicide.

Samsung occupational disease victims and international NGO activists held a press conference to call for labor rights and environmental justice in front of the head office of Samsung Electronics, Seoul. Representing 36 organizations from over 10 countries, they chose the head office of Samsung Electronics for the press conference location because of the deaths of Samsung semiconductor workers. The participants agreed to spread the word about the grim truth behind Samsung Corporation – particularly Samsung C&T, the enormous division responsible for the devastating Four Rivers Project as well as the Jeju Naval Base construction.

Samsung has been singled out as the worst environmental destroyer and 'public enemy No. 1' within Korean civil society.

June 21
While 55 civic groups staged a press conference against the ROK-US-Japan trilateral war drill, some people held signs in front of the Jeju naval base project at Gangjeong village. The slogan was "No War Games in the Jeju Sea." Simultaneously, at the US consulate in Osaka, members of the AWC-Japan joined Korean activists to protest the two-day US-JPN-ROK joint military drill.

A Jeju Domin Ilbo editorial read that Woo should stop construction, and that the promotion of the port as being for both civilian and military use is a sham, when in fact the port will be used strictly for military purposes only. The article called his pronouncements of a "win-win" solution meaningless, citing his June 4 statement that villagers had "won" because he had submitted an economic-opportunities request to the central government for them, and that the Navy had "won" because the naval base will be built for the progress of national security. His remarks have brought on much criticism by the villagers and media that are denouncing his money-based mindset.

Meanwhile, Jeju farmers held a protest in front of the Jeju Island government hall against the second FTA meeting between the ROK and China, which will be held on July 4 and 5 in Jeju at the Lotte Hotel. Jeju farmers said agriculture in Jeju has already been aggravated by the ROK-US FTA.

June 22
About 15 villagers and activists started a four-day/three-night bicycle campaign throughout the Island to widely publicize the coming peace march from July 30 to Aug. 8. They also distributed public campaign materials and leaflets about the duplicitousness of the purported civilian-military port, which is in fact a military-only port.

June 23
Around 100 villagers and activists held a colorful "Gureombi Parade" through downtown Jeju City. Wearing sea animal hats and costumes, they played instruments, sang songs and waved bright hand-sewn banners. They also publicized an upcoming peace festival to be held from June 30 to July 21 that will be comprised of diverse activities such as peace talks, life-peace concerts, and candlelight vigils on the way to Gangjeong village to advocate the value of peace and the rights of people of Gangjeong village.

In Seoul, 10 participants of people's bicycle campaign in Jeju joined a two-day workshop on June 23-24.

Hwang Ki-Chul, vice-chief of naval operations had a secret talk with Island Governor Woo, after visiting the naval base project site. The talk lasted an hour. The chief of the naval base project committee was also present, leading people to believe the meeting concerned the base.

The 137,000-ton cruise liner, Voyager of the Seas, the largest luxury cruise ship to ever dock in South Korea, arrived at Jeju Port "as the island moves to build itself into one of the leading tourist destinations in Northeast Asia." (Yonhap news). The Jeju Sori reported that Governor Woo said, "We are concentrating on completing the cruise terminal in the Jeju outer port by 2014 and a port with a docking capacity of 150,000-ton cruise ships in Gangjeong village by 2015. The Jeju civilian-military dual port (which is in fact a military-only port) built by the government and Island would be a large-size entry port." Despite claims that the port will also be for civilian use, the navy's layout proves that it was designed for aircraft carriers. Further, why would small Jeju Island need two ports for such large cruise vessels, when there are only seven, total, in the world? The Island government said that the number of foreign tourists from the Voyager of the Seas exceeded 100,000 on its first day. No mention was made as to its economic effect.

June 24
The Jeju Domin Ilbo criticized the Island government for not pursuing an answer from the central government. It had been an entire month, since May 24, when the Island government had announced that it would request a real-time simulation of docking capabilities at the proposed naval base. The Island government said it is in the process of negotiation with the Prime Minister's Office. Before that it had demanded the simulation for three variables to prove the docking capacity of another cruise ship in the west breakwater in the wake of a 150,000-ton cruise ship entering the pier of the south breakwater. The Prime Minister declined to prepare the simulation, but later, unilaterally carried out the tests with no concrete reports on its result.

June 25
An international Catholic priest living in Korea on a missionary visa, experienced an unusual delay of over one week in the extension of his visa. Later he found that a South Korean Immigration Officer wanted to meet him to "discuss matters." When he met the officer, he discovered that his participation in the campaigns to stop the Jeju naval base had been surveyed by the South Korean government. The officer presented him with a file of numerous photos showing him in campaigns. In those photos, his face was even marked. The officer threatened, that if he continues to support the struggle, he would be deported. It is another case of oppression against international solidarity and a violation of human rights. It paradoxically proves that the government is afraid of its wrongdoings being known to the world.  In that sense, the international solidarity campaign has been working.

June 26
Jeju Sori reported that negative opinion by the public on Governor Woo's "win-win" solution measure regarding the naval base reached a high of 67.3%, while positive opinion ranked 23.2%. (Overall wrong: 59.6%, very wrong: 7.7%) To the question of solution measure, people's answers were: stop construction (41.5%), government economic support (29.8%), continue the present course (17.4%) and form a National Assembly special committee (6.4%).

The Ministry of Land, Transportation and Maritime Affairs (MLTM) designated the Jeju Indo-Pacific bottle nose dolphins as one of the eight 'protection species.' The dolphins inhabit only Jeju, and are distinct from the other Indo-Pacific bottle nose dolphins, the IUCN-listed species. As of 2009, only 114 individual dolphins remain in Jeju (so throughout the whole Korea), but the numbers have decreased because of coastal development and illegal capturing. The Gangjeong sea, the cleanest sea in Jeju despite the pollution coming from the naval base construction site, is where the dolphins are most easily visible from the coast. The government should stop building the naval base if it truly wants to protect this wonderful, almost-extinct species.

The UK London solidarity team held a solidarity event called "Gangjeong Night." It was about the screening of Gangjeong films in London. The London team had a Skype meeting with people in Gangjeong for 30 minutes starting at 9:30pm, London time. On both sides of the globe, about 13 ~14 people joined each. In Korea, it was 5:30 a.m., June 27. The London team will also have a London peace bicycle-riding event on July 1 and 21, in solidarity with the People's Bicycle Pilgrimage throughout Korea from June 30 to July 28, which is connected to the Island Peace March from July 30 to Aug. 4.

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Take Action:

1. Please take some time to write protest letters to the government and the naval base planners and contractors. Demand that they revoke the Jeju naval base project in the Peace Island; that they should stop lying that the port will be a civilian-military port; and that they should not enforce Restricted Military Installation Area, which is illegal and a violation of government's promises to the people. Please tell them that the base construction (destruction) continues at the cost of destruction of a community, democracy, human rights, the environment, and the peace of the Gangjeong villagers. Tell them that the base being built in the Jeju will make Jeju a target of war, contribute to political instability in Asia, and only profit the arms industries such as Samsung and Daelim who employs thugs to oppress protesters. Please remind that the current government oppression to people is reminiscent of a 2nd 4.3.

Appropriate addresses can be found here:

https://app.e2ma.net/app/view:CampaignPublic/id:33867.7483820829/rid:c5c744865a7b372e77e36ea5fb216220

http://www.secc.co.kr/eng/html/customer/contactus.asp (Samsung C & T)

2. Please write a letter to Woo Keun-Min, Island governor, to immediately order the halt of the construction (destruction); to stop the deceptive propaganda regarding the so-called "Beautiful tourism port for mixed civilian-military dual-use" which in reality is only 100% a military base; to revoke the navy license for reclamation of the coast and sea in the base project area; and to restore the absolute preservation area that was annulled for the naval base project through undemocratic procedures in 2009. Also please demand that he give a sincere apology to the villagers and activists whom he ordered to be attacked on March 26 and May 18.

Mr. Woo Keun-Min, Jeju Island Governor: kmj5369@jeju.go.kr or jejumaster@jeju.go.kr

3. Please write to the Democratic United party members to work harder to revoke the Jeju naval base project. Please tell them that the so-called "Beautiful Tourism Port for Mixed Civilian-Military Use", has been confirmed as a fraud and that the party should resolutely reject the Lee Myung-Bak government's enforcement of Jeju naval base project under such deceptive propaganda. Please remind them that the party's election pledge was to "re-examine the project from the beginning point" and that they should also consider a special inspection system for the Jeju naval base issue, regarding crimes committed by the government. Pressuring them is very important, as their party is the main opposition party:

Lee Hae-Chan, Representative of Democratic United Party, lhc21c@paran.com 

Park Ji-Won, Democratic United Party Representative within the National Assembly, jwp615@hanmail.net

Moon Jae-In, Permanent Advisor, Democratic United party, possible presidential candidate: moonriver365@gmail.com

http://www.minjoo.kr/members/memberLeaders.jsp

4. Appeal and/or pressure the IUCN and its many members to take a major stand against the destruction of the environment being done through the forced construction of the illegal naval base:

IUCN main site: http://www.iucn.org/

IUCN WCC Congress in Jeju site: http://www.iucnworldconservationcongress.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iucn.org Twitter: @IUCN

5. Please also consider signing the petitions on Avaaz (http://www.avaaz.org/en/save_jeju/?vl) and distributing this letter among your networks.

6. For more immediate situation updates, join the facebook group, 'No Naval Base on Jeju'.

7. Please write encouraging letters to Dr. (or Brother) Song who has been in Jail since April 1.

Dr. Song Kang-Ho (No. 611)
Jeju Prison, 161 Ora-2dong,
Jeju City, Jeju the Peace Island,
Korea

8. There will be a large peace pilgrimage throughout Jeju Island from July 30 to Aug. 4. Internationals are encouraged to visit the Jeju during the period or send solidarity video messages that can be screened publicly. The pilgrimage participation fee is 20,000 Won. It is a good chance for internationals to visit Jeju. Another good change to visit will be during the 2012 WCC event from Sept. 6 to 15. For more inquires, contact gangjoengintl@gmail.com

Thank you,
The Extended International Team of Gangjeong Village
June 26, 2012

 

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