Greetings from People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD)!
PSPD is serving as the secretariat of the National Network of Korean Civil Society for Opposing to the Naval Base in Jeju Island which consists of 125 civil society organisations.
Jeju Island is located at the southern part of South Korea. Jeju, the Island of Peace designated by the Government, is experiencing harsh conflicts because a naval base construction has been enforced at Gangjeong village without proper consultation with villagers. It is being pushed under the name of national project while human rights of local people are too often violated. People in Gangjeong village have been protesting in a peaceful and non-violent way for 6 years against the Government’s violence and attempts to construct the naval base.
In this regards, Gangjeong Village Association, Jeju Pan-Island Committee for Stop of Military Base and for Realization of Peace Island and National Network of Korean Civil Society for Opposing to the Naval Base in Jeju Island are collecting endorsement for the Asia Pacific Peace Declaration.
Please endorse the “Asia-Pacific Peace Declaration on the International Action Week for No Naval Base in Jeju Island” from below link. It is an individual endorsement so many people from one organisation can endorse the Declaration separately.
If you need further information on ‘No Jeju Naval Base Campaign”, please visit http://www.peoplepower21.org/english or http://savejejunow.org/.
We sincerely appreciate your support and solidarity.
Asia-Pacific Peace Declaration for No Naval Base in Jeju Island
Bring peace and cooperation to East Asia!
Don’t militarize Jeju Island and the pacific!
Make Jeju an Island of World Peace!
While witnessing the construction of a gigantic naval base in beautiful Gangjeong village in Jeju Island, located in the Western Pacific Ocean, we cannot help but raise questions again: why war and destructions are repeated under the name of peace and prosperity?
The 20th century was the century of war and militarization!
Two World Wars broke out followed by the Cold War. Even during the Cold War era, big and small wars continued. The legacies of conflicts stay until today and turn various parts of world into powder kegs.
The Asia-Pacific region, where the Korean peninsula is located, was one of the most intensive battlefields in the world. During the 2nd World War (the Pacific War), the whole Jeju Island was used as an outpost to stage war in China. And during the era of turmoil caused by the Cold War, the Island experienced 3 April Massacre in 1948 that resulted in more than 30,000 civilians’ death by their own Government.
After the end of the Cold War and at the beginning of the 21st century, the whole humankind sincerely hoped for a new era, an era of peace and cooperation. People wanted to bring justice not only by getting away from an exaggerated fear from outside, but also resolving conflicts and violence inside the community. Also, people expected all governments to cooperate with each other to solve problems the world faces rather than pointing guns at each other. In this way, we all dreamt of harmoniously developing a democratic system where people’s happiness, safety and sustainable lives are top priorities. Around this time, the idea of making Jeju Island an Island of Peace was also raised. Jeju Island which belongs to the divided Korean peninsula is a world natural heritage site.
Unfortunately, the new millennium started with another war. Justice has not been delivered and democracy has been set back. In the last 10 years, war, destruction and greed have swept the whole world, unregulated and uncontrolled. As a result, the world economic crisis has emerged. This disaster was caused by neo-liberalism and militarism being not put under democratic controls. 99% of people had to pay for the price in pain and agony.
Militarism is rising again in East Asia despite lessons from the past.
Arms race and military confrontation have accelerated in parallel with East Asia’s potential and economic vitality despite global economic crises. In the last few years in East Asia, militarism and conflicts regarding sovereignty and territory have been dramatically rising. In the Korean peninsula where the 59th year of the Armistice Agreement continues without ending the Korean War, military tension has been rising sharply. Military alliance and military drills which are legacies of the Cold War have intensified with more aggressive gestures under the name of maritime security.
While militarization of East Asia is further intensified under the excuse of military threats from outside, national and regional cooperation to solve problems such as damaged environment, polarized economy, and broken social security and community is developing only too slowly.
Why does the history of conflict repeat even if most people do not wish for it? Why do solutions that have proven to be failing and making everyone unhappy continue to be used? Why do things such as evicting people, destroying their environment and threatening their safety under the name of economic growth and national security continue? Is it really impossible to make the world into a place where everyone can peacefully cooperate and co-exist without being stolen or stealing and without being occupied or occupying?
The Pacific must be the sea of peace and lives, not the sea of war and destruction.
The Pacific Ocean means peaceful ocean. It was named by a European who sailed the ocean in search of Asia. However, when we look back on the history, since the Ocean was named as the Pacific, lives of the people who lived in the ocean have never been peaceful.
Now, we must change this. The sea of East Asia, the Western Pacific Ocean, is a common livelihood of all people who are living here and the biggest platform of trade and exchange worldwide. It should never be a place of conflict, struggle, and dispute. What we have to bring to the sea of East Asia is not militarism but a cooperation that makes everyone happy.
People have gathered here to realize the dream – though now endangered by the construction of a naval base – to make an Island in East Asia the Island of World Peace.
There are Jeju people including villagers of Gangjeong who have continued a non-violent and peaceful resistant for the last 6 years against the construction of a naval base which will militarize the sea of East Asia.
Gangjeong village is a buffer zone of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and one of the oldest and the most beautiful villages in Jeju Island. Clean water from two big streams falls into the front sea of Gangjeong village all year round. These two streams are rarely found in Jeju Island because the Island is made of a volcanic rock called basalt. Thanks to this, Gangjeong village has been the centre of agriculture and residence in Jeju Island since the Bronze Age. Gangjeong village and its front sea is also a livelihood of many endangered species including soft coral, narrow-mouthed toad and the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins. At this place, to save their own community and environment, villagers have peacefully protested against navy base construction, which has been enforced without their consent.
Living peacefully without being caught up in war and conflict is individual and collective right that everyone is naturally entitled to. Gangjeong villagers’ human right to peace and human right to environment must be protected and promoted. Their freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association must be guaranteed at all times.
Jeju people have a full right to stand against a repeat of the last century’s tragedy. Also, they present a strong call to open a new era of peace and cooperation in East Asia for themselves and for all of us.
People of the world can move one step closer to a peaceful world and the new era of coexistence by standing in solidarity with Jeju people’s struggle
We, together with the wish of the peoples of the world for world peace, strongly urge the followings:
• Stop Jeju naval base construction immediately!
• Guarantee human right to peace, human right to environment and freedom of expression of Gangjeong villagers!
• Guarantee Gangjeong villagers’ right to speak during the World Conservation Conference which will be held in Jeju!
• Allow Gangjeong village to remain a community of life and peace, and keep Jeju Island as the Island of World Peace!
• No militarization of the sea! Make the sea of East Asia the sea of Peace!
• No to arms race in the Asia Pacific! Yes to peace in the Asia Pacific!
• Give peace a chance.
2 September 2012
Gangjeong Village Association
Jeju Pan-Island Committee for Stop of Military Base and for Realization of Peace Island
National Network of Korean Civil Society for Opposing to the Naval Base in Jeju Island