Chejudo: No War Base! 2012-06-05
Weekly Appeal for June 5, 2012
No War Base! Yes 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!
Image source: Jeju Sori, June 1, 2012. The banner reads,
'Jeju, the Peace Island and naval base cannot stand together.'
"The Jeju Forum, an international forum that marks its seventh year this year, aims for the construction of a Northeast Asian community of peace and prosperity. This year's forum subject is 'New Trends and the Future of Asia', and many global corporate personnel, bureaucrats, politicians, and researchers, not to mention Prime Minister Kim Hwang-Shik, will attend. To make a sea of horror and tension where the most technologically advanced war vessels will confront each other can never be the future of East Asia. The pursuit of profit through militarism and silence on environmental destruction and human rights violations can never be a new trend. We urgently appeal to forum participants to seriously discuss the matters of the militarization of the Northeast Sea, environmental destruction, and the infringement of human rights of citizens." (People's statement, June 1st, titled, "The Jeju Naval Base Construction that Marches Against the Peace and Prosperity of Northeast Asia Should be Immediately Stopped".)
On June 2nd, speaking at a security conference in Singapore (June 2 to 3), Leon Panetta, US Secretary of Defense, said that assigning 60 percent of the U.S. fleet to the Asia Pacific is a part of a new strategy to increase U.S. presence there by 2020. To stop the Jeju naval base construction is to save the peace of the Asia Pacific and the world.
Daily Summaries:May 29:
The Navy is planning a military family housing (MFH) project for the Jeju naval base. They tried to hold a presentation for residents to officially announce that over 92,400㎡ area in the village will be taken for the MFH project. However, the presentation failed because the villagers rose up in major opposition storming into the presentation hall with great fury. They argued that they are not only against the project but were never even informed about the presentation.
Meanwhile Lee Jae-Oh, a congressman of the Saenuri party (the ruling conservative party), who has announced his candidacy in the coming presidential election while visiting Jeju, revealed his opposition to the reappraisal of the Navy base plan.
In good news, Media Jeju reported about a letter it was forwarded in the mail by an inside source regarding the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), the co-host of the 2012 Jeju WCC (World Conservation Congress, the world's biggest environmental event, held every four years, this time in Jeju from Sept. 6 to 15.) The forwarded letter was a letter sent by the IUCN to IUCN-related group personnel. In the letter, the IUCN introduced the villagers' non-violent struggle against the naval base construction and the constant violent government oppression against them and the people supporting them. It stated that Jeju is becoming the focus of military tension in the East Asia. The IUCN strongly recommended the South Korean government to stop the unjust and anti-democratic destruction of cultural treasures and expressed its support for the rights of Koreans who are resisting against it. The letter especially appealed to experts in related fields to join the growing international opposition movement and gave details of the recent international solidarity protests scheduled throughout May. While the 2012 Jeju WCC is partially funded by Samsung, the main naval base-contracted company, such a letter from the IUCN is surely encouraging news. Your help to pressure the IUCN more will encourage the struggle!
The Jeju district court turned down 379 villagers' lawsuit calling for a revocation of the approval of reclamation construction of the public water and its adjacent surface in the village, ruling that there are no legal flaws in the Island government's approval given to the navy. The villagers had filed a suit claiming that it was illegal when the former island government administration forcefully and illegally cancelled the Absolute Conservation Area in the village (where the base site now is). The court also dismissed the villagers' filing for cancellation of the government's unjust seizure of their farming road. The court reasoned that the villagers have no qualification as plaintiffs. The court, siding with the oligarchy, has seldom made just decisions for the villagers regarding issues of the naval base.
Otherwise, about 60 participants nationwide came for the Peace Activists' Conference for the Life and Peace of Gangjeong Village (May 31 to June 2) held in the village. Attendees included about 10 international students, mainly from the Asian countries, attending Episcopal Church University.
Internationally, members of AWC-Japan held their 3rd regular protest in front of South Korean consulate in Osaka. Slogans included: "No Naval Base on Jeju!", "Stop repression against villagers!", and "Withdraw the entry-ban!"
While a young activist was arrested around noon in front of the naval base project building complex, under the charge of obstruction of government affairs, the 7th Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity (May 31 to June 2), which desires a kind of World Economic Forum (Davos forum) opened under the theme of the 'New Trend and Future of Asia,' at the Haevichi hotel & resort, Pyoseon, Jeju Island. The co-sponsors included the Jeju Island government and Joongang Ilbo (Samsung owned Korean newspaper, one of the most conservative South Korean media outlets).
At the same time, Army Major General Yoo Young-Jo, Strategic Policy Director for the Ministry of National Defense (MND), had a 50-minute closed meeting with Jeju Governor Woo Keun-Min. It is highly suspected that the subject of discussion was the naval base and its surrounding issues.
At 10:00 a.m., about 100 villagers and activists (including participants of the Activists' Conference) had a press conference in front of the Haevichi hotel. About 400 policemen (even troopers) initially blocked the people's press conference site, setting up a police line right before the conference. After the people strongly protested it, while negotiating with the police that they would not enter the hotel, the line was removed. During the press conference, Mayor Kang criticized the illogicality of the Jeju forum while the naval base is being constructed on the other side of the island. Later, village representatives delivered a statement to an officer of the Prime Minister's Office, demanding the stop of the naval base construction (destruction). While attempting to do this, Seogwipo police, led by police chief Lee Dong-Min from the mainland tried to prevent them. Joyful song and dance, along with a speech on the street by Fr. Mun Jeong-Hyeon also took place.
In the afternoon, Mass was held by Episcopal priests in front of the naval base office gate, with activists non-violently blocking construction trucks with life and peace bows.
Otherwise, the Navy sent out letters to the Gangjeong villagers saying that they would not designate anywhere else outside the base project area as a Restricted Military Installation Area. However, the village association disputed this saying that this is nothing but more deception and that the removal of such designations is almost impossible even for the President. They also pointed out that the Ministry of National Defense (MND) should have stipulated such remarks in the April 26th advance notice when they secretly proposed a revision of the base enforcement order. This was the proposal that the MND tried to hide and was only discovered when MediaJeju exposed it on May 5th.
In the evening, in perhaps the highest point of the government's base propaganda war, the navy held a public event to promote the base construction. Many costumed military personnel dominated the event at the Jeju Convention Center, while full color propaganda materials were distributed to those in attendance. About 20 peace activists who were joining the activists' conference in Gangjeong joined the event with signs and brochures and spread truthful information to the people there.
Finally, The Korea Times reported that, for the first time, a platoon of Korean combat marines will join the U.S.-led RIMPAC war exercises in Hawaii, the world's largest maritime exercise. Meanwhile, the Hankyoreh reported that Japan is considering dispatching Aegis destroyers to the international waters west of Korea in the event of another rocket launch by North Korea.
On Saturday, the 12th nationwide people's action day to stop the naval base construction was held in a pleasant form of a sports event, under the slogan 'Cheer for Gangjeong Peace! Beat the Naval Base,' as more than 200 villagers and activists gathered. The sports event was followed by a march to the port where people held a candle vigil in the evening, starting with a traditional Korean circle dance and ending with a series of bands, singers, rappers, and dancers performing.
Resign, Island governor! Commemorating the 100th day before the 2012 Jeju World Conservation Congress, the Jeju governor Woo Keun-Min joined a ceremony and concert held in the Jeju Convention Center. A group of peace activists held a successful picketing inside the event hall.
The Jeju media reported that a 140,000-ton cruise would enter the port of Jeju City for the first time on June 23. This might be further evidence that the Island does not need two ports for big cruise ships. The Jeju provincial government has been insisting on the so-called dual port for two 150,000-ton cruises being forcibly built in Gangjeong, which is in fact a military-only port.
Otherwise, speaking at a security conference in Singapore, Leon Panetta, the U.S. Defense Secretary stated, "By 2020, the [U.S.] Navy will re-posture its forces from today's roughly 50/50 percent split between the Pacific and the Atlantic to about a 60/40 split between those oceans. That will include six aircraft carriers in this region, a majority of our cruisers, destroyers, littoral combat ships, and submarines....to project power and operate in the Asia-Pacific." The new strategy is named "AirSea Battle." (Source: Bruce Gagnon's blog on June 4)
The navy-contracted company thugs and police violently obstructed the free expression of religious activities trying to disrupt the Daily 100 Life and Peace Bows, Catholic Mass, and Christian prayer meeting which take place in front of the base construction (destruction) gate almost daily. This infuriated the priests and pastors who resisted strongly, leading to the arrest of a female pastor in her 40s for blocking a construction truck. Her 12-year-old daughter watched the whole scene with fear and sadness. The pastor was released several hours later.
Meanwhile, in Jeju City, at 11 a.m., the Gangjeong Village Association and several civic groups who have declared a complete separation from the Governor Woo held a press conference in front of the Government hall, to announce a concentrated public relations campaign to stop the naval base throughout the Island.
Governor Woo gave a talk to a meeting of the Jeju Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Jeju CCI) again emphasizing the untrue claims that the naval base will be a dual use port for two 150,000-ton cruise ships. He also claimed the success of his so-called "win-win policy," regarding the base. He claimed that it is a "win" for the villagers because he has requested that the central government create development opportunities in the nearby vicinity that he claims will allow the villagers to make more than 1 trillion won. He claims it is a win for the navy also as the naval base will be built for the progress of national security.
Of course these statements are nothing but more clear proof that he will not order the stop of the construction of the base. As the Jeju newspaper, the Jeju Domin Ilbo wrote, "...the definition of his so-called 'win-win policy' in the end means, 'Money'. It is completely different from the viewpoint of the opposition movement including the villagers, who claim that such a large military base will cause the collapse of the universal human values of peace, human rights, the environment, and life, and will actually threaten security by provoking China."
In good news, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (Chair: Bishop Kang U-Il) made a public release that the Most Reverend Richard E. Pates, Chair of the Committee on International Justice and Peace, Catholic Relief Services, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, sent a letter on May 17 to Hilary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State; and Leon Panetta, U.S. Secretary of Defense; delivering the Korean bishops' concerns about the Jeju naval base project and expressing US Bishops' solidarity with the Korean bishops who oppose the base project. (Source: Jeju and Catholic Media on June 5)
"100,000 Youth for the Peace of Jeju and the World' turned in the first petition to the 19th National Assembly at the opening of its first regular session. The petition (http://100kpropose.com) is regarding the naval base issue and has four demands: Stop construction, investigate government crimes related to human rights violations and the illegal construction, complete budget cut for the base, and the setting up of a special prosecution system for crimes committed by the government. They have been gathering signatures from all over the Korea since April and have around 27,500 signatures so far. A press conference and flash mob were held in the Seoul National Assembly and at a nearby venue.
A young Okinawa activist who has visited the village was denied entry to the country with no persuasive reason. She was told she had not necessarily planned to visit the Jeju this time. It is at least the 10th this year that internationals were denied entry.
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:
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: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
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:
Park Ji-Won, Representative of Democratic United Party, Democratic United Party Representative within the National Assembly, Supreme member of the Democratic Party: email@example.com
4. Appeal to 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:
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
The Extended International Team of Gangjeong Village
June 5, 2012