[Statement of Appeal] We appeal to save Gangjeong!
- 2011.07.18 (10:15:46)
We, National Network of Korean Civil Society for Opposing to the Naval Base in Jeju Island, had a press conference and released this statement of appeal on 13th July.
We appeal to peace advocates worldwide to give Gangjeong residents and peace activists international support and solidarity to stop the Jeju naval base construction.
Please spread the news of these problems related to the Jeju naval base construction with your networks and show us your support and solidarity.
Statement of Appeal
We appeal to save Gangjeong!
The Joongduk coast of Gangjeong Village in Jeju Island is now suffering. In 2006, Jeju Island was designated as an Island of Peace for the purpose of consoling the deep sorrow of the April 3rd Massacre. And the Joongduk coast was appointed as a Biosphere Reserve, World Heritage Site, and Global Geological Park by UNESCO. It is an Absolute Preservation Area, which is now suffering from naval base construction.
Insisting that the naval base is vital for national security, the Korean government and the navy are enforcing the construction. However, the Ocean Navy expansion plan upon which the base construction was justified has been discarded in revisions to the national defense bill regarding strategies to counteract recent security threats, leaving no justification for this new base. In addition, the original argument from the government when the National Assembly budget bill was passed was to construct a Joint Civil Military site to be used for tourism as well as military purposes. However, that plan has disappeared and now only the military base is being constructed.
By maintaining military alliances with Japan, Australia, South Korea, and India, and through joint military exercises with the Philippines, Vietnam, and Taiwan(Province of China), the U.S. is attempting to build up its defense line against China. If the Jeju naval base is constructed, the U.S., which possesses the right to station there according to the ROK-U.S. Mutual Defense Agreement, will surely use this base to stand up against China. In that case, Jeju Island, an Island of Peace, will become a center of military conflict between the U.S. and China, jeopardizing South Korea’s national security.
Government and military authorities, however, are turning a blind eye to the voices of Gangjeong residents and civil peace activists, as well as to the demands to suspend the construction coming from the opposition parties and the investigation committee of the National Assembly. The navy has even used violence against a protesting civilian. On July 11, the national government recommended that the city government barricade a farm road on the Joongduk coast, which is the last remaining piece of state-owned land under the jurisdiction of Seogwipo city within the site of the naval base construction. This action was a response to the demand from the Ministry of National Defense to discourage any attempts to stage a protest against the naval base construction. However, such efforts by the government to enforce the construction only bring about stronger resistance and conflicts from Gangjeong residents and peace activists. The construction must be stopped before any unfortunate accidents take place.
We appeal to the government and military authorities
The argument for the base construction by the government and the navy is no longer valid. Moreover, the means and procedures used to promote the construction have been so violent and deceptive that they are only causing more resistance and resentment. Unilaterally pushing ahead with the construction, in the name of the national project, is obviously not a wise way. We call upon the government and military authorities to withdraw their plan to close the farm road and to completely reexamine the Jeju naval base construction project.
We appeal to Woo Keun-Min, Jeju governor
Governor Woo, you were aware of the negative consequences that could result from the naval base construction and you were right. We urge you to give up the futile illusion about the development profit and to listen to the desperate voices of the residents. We further request you to use your authority to cancel the removal of the “absolute preservation area” designation of Joongduk coast. If you do so, history would remember you as a person who protects the peace of Jeju and the Korean peninsula.
We appeal to the national assembly
As an entity representing citizens, the national assembly has a duty to listen to and respond to citizens’ voices. We appeal to the opposition parties to be more active in nullifying the Jeju naval base construction project. The Grand National Party, as the current ruling party, should seriously examine whether the base is really needed and whether national budget should be spent on inflating military forces and feeding construction capital.
We appeal to citizens.
Gangjeong citizens have been fighting alone for over four long years. In the meantime, the village community has been torn apart, leaving indelible scars. Citizens are also engulfed with fears due to various lawsuits from the government and construction companies, as well as fines up to tens of millions of won. They are suffering from the fact that the Goorungbi boulder, which represents their dreams and memories, might be covered with cement block.
Please express your solidarity and give them your consolation. And if you can, please visit Gangjeong Village. Then you might be able to understand more clearly why the construction must be stopped. In addition, please use your wisdom and energy to do whatever you can in your position to prevent the Jeju naval base construction.
We appeal to peace advocates worldwide
International support, advocacy, and solidarity to stop the Jeju naval base construction give Gangjeong residents and peace activists strength and courage. Please spread the news of these problems related to the Jeju naval base construction with your networks and show us your support and solidarity.
We will try our best to prevent the Jeju naval base construction which endangers the Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia, and which is destroying the lives of Gangjeong residents and the natural environment, a gift from heaven. We firmly believe that this struggle is our responsibility to Jeju Island, where the sorrow of the April 3rd massacre is deeply embedded, that this is a expression of our conscience regarding the suffering Gangjeong residents, and that it is the demand of the times to protect and ensure peace for our children. We sincerely appeal to everybody who stands alongside us to protect Gangjeong Village and Jeju Island.
July 13, 2011
National Network of Korean Civil Society for Opposing to the Naval Base in Jeju Island