The leadership of the National Council of Churches of Korea stands solidly against the construction of a naval base at Kang Jeong village on Jeju Island. In previous editions there have been reports of NCCK actions on this issue. On Sept. 8, NCCK General Secretary, Rev. Kim Young Ju, met with government Democratic Party leader, Son Hak Kyu, in a discussion of the Democratic Party policy on the situation around the Jeju Island/Kang Jeong Village /naval base construction.
On Sept. 2, the police descended in force on the village to remove the leadership of the villagers’ protest. A group of about 40 people was arrested and spent the weekend in police custody. At the same time as the police were scuffling with the protesters that early morning, construction workers completed the total encirclement of the designated area with a high fence.
The NCCK had made arrangements to come to Kang Jeong village on Sept. 6 as a witness to peace and a sign of solidarity with the protesters, and the events of Sept. 2 made it even more significant. Protest groups are not allowed to gather outside the gate, but the regulations so far allow worshipping groups, and so on Sept. 6, the Justice and Peace Committee of the NCCK held a prayer meeting led by Park Sang Hee of the Church Leadership Development Committee in front of the gate. PCK (Presbyterian Church in Korea) minister Rev. Je Jong Won prayed that “The Island of Peace should remain at peace as we confront the enemies which break peace”. The concept of a peaceful island was celebrated by a Gospel song sung by the PROK Rural Pastors’ Council. Pastor Lee Hae Hak, Chairperson of the NCCK Justice and Peace Committee, preached referring to the book of Joshua 6: 20-21. He praised the civilians and peace builders struggling for peace in the island, and declared that constructing barriers to hide the construction of the naval base is destined to fail. He said “We have to be one to keep peace in the island” After the sermon, Choi Sung Hee, a peace activist who had been in prison for 4 months because of her nonviolent actions in the protest for Kang Jeong village, along with Hyun Ae Ja, a former Member of the National Assembly for Jeju Island, spoke on the unsuitability of Jeju for a naval base. Prayers were offered by Seogwipo Salvation Army for the Peace and Life of the people of the world, and bythe Gospel Church for Peace among the people of Kang Jeong Village. At the conclusion of the prayer meeting an Anglican Priest, Park Dong Il, read “Our declaration”, before the members marched from the prayer site to Kang Jeong Harbour.
We pray for life, peace and justice in the world and declare the following:
1. The Peace Island, Jeju, has to be, not a war base, but a peaceful symbol.
2. Jeju lsland, a natural spot designated by UNESCO, should be preserved with respect for its natural treasures.
3. As a democratic republic, the Republic of Korea should serve the interests of its civilians.
4. The destruction caused in Kang Jeong village community should be restored.
5. The South Korean government should resolve the Jeju issue by negotiation, not physical force.
6. The National Assembly should form a special committee to resolve the issue.
7. Those arrested while dedicating their actions to peace and life should be freed.
8. The government should start a conversation for the resolution of problems and disengage the police authority.
9. In accordance with the law of the protection and investigation of buried cultural treasure, the government should stop construction of naval base. After preserving the burial cultural treasure on the construction spot, the government should abide by the law by talking to the representatives of the Cultural Heritage Department of government
10. Following the Cross of Christ and the redemption of God, we will continue to pray for Jeju, the island of life and peace.
September 6, 2011
There are many ways that readers can assist the Global Campaign to Save Jeju Island.
The main English activist website giving information on the naval base at Gangjeong Village and the resistance against it is www.savejejuisland.org.
The website www.ProtestLMBinDC.org has recently been posted in response to the visit of South Korean President Lee Myung Bak to Washington on October 13. There is a protest being planned in front of the White House for 6 p.m.. Meeting at 5:30 in Lafayette Park.