On the morning of January 17, 2013, two press conferences were held at similar times in front of the Korea Institute of Oceanic Science and Technology in Daedeok-gu, Daejeon and at the naval base project office gate in Gangjeong Village, Jeju. They were held to denounce the Korean government and navy’s hasty 3rd simulation that will be held for only two days on January 17 and 18 in Daejeon. The government and navy plan to make a report on the simulation results at the Jeju Island government hall on January 31.
On January 14, it was reported that Woo Keun-Min, the Island governor, stated in his New Year talk with the press that he would persuade the villagers in person if two conditions are met: First, if it is concluded that there is no problem with the ability of 150,000 ton cruise ships to safely enter and exit the port, and second, If the ROK government states that it will support the Island with a 1 trillion won development plan. However, these conditions are quite suspicious and the villagers have consistently demanded that what they want is not economic profit but justice. Below is a translation of the people’s statement on January 17. Click here for the original Korean statement or watch the Korean video here.
It is useful to remember Mayor Kang Dong-Kyun’s lawsuit against the Prime Minister regarding the Prime Minister’s office’s lies and manipulations of the simulations in the past. This lawsuit is spreading nationwide including Seoul and Busan. On January 15, Law Prof. Shin Yong-In and others held a press conference in front of the Jeju District Court about the lawsuit. On that day, more than 300 names were added to the lawsuit in addition to Mayor Kang. around 74 people from Jeju and around 100 from the Jeolla province and Gwangju.
Press Conference Statement:
Stop the Hasty Jeju Naval Base Simulation Which is Only a Formality in Order to Justify an Unreliable National Policy Project
Starting today, January 17, Daedok Research Institute is running a 2-day simulation on the ships’ port-entry and exit. This extremely short simulation, being processed by Prof. Lee Yoon-Seok of Korea Maritime University, cannot possibly be a fair simulation to thoroughly analyze the construction of the proposed sea port in Gangjeong, Jeju which is being justified as both a civilian cruise liner harbor and a naval battleship destroyer port. Although this is the 3rd ship simulation of the port, it is still merely a formality to appease the National Assembly’s orders and is full of lies and distortions.
The first problem is who is running these simulations. The Office of the Prime Minister, who unjustly influenced the 2nd simulation processed by the technical verification committee last year, is now officially in charge of the 3rd simulation this year. Prof. Lee Yoon-Seok grossly underestimated the possible negative circumstances during the 2nd simulation, such as current speed, wind speed, sea wave heights, and excessive ship speeds during port-exit and entry. The Office in charge of this 3rd simulation has already proven they have a history of providing unreliable and incorrect data.
Secondly, the conditions of the verification are too limited. The 3 demands by the Jeju Island government on this third simulation have been cut to two and it will be run accepting the results of the flawed previous simulation that relied on intentionally distorted data. Therefore it cannot be considered an objective or fair simulation. Particularly, this new simulation does not take into account the changed sea route turning angle, from 77° to 30°. Instead it is being tested with the old model used during the previous simulation, and does not take into account this new areas water depth or inner currents. This 3rd simulation is an unreliable and hasty simulation which does not satisfy anyone’s idea of a “thorough verification.”
Thirdly, there is a problem about the simulation time span. As we have mentioned many times in the past, it takes at least six months to carry out a proper simulation for a project of this magnitude and because they changed the sea navigation route. It is hard to understand why the government and navy rush this simulation report and use unreliable data when the National Assembly provided 70 days started on January 1, 2013. Simply halt the construction to allow a thorough verification to be done.
If the government and the navy are performing this extremely short simulation to simply justify the continued construction of the naval base, this simulation must be stopped immediately and then performed by an independent 3rd party contractor without a conflict of interest. Then a proper objective and scientific simulation could be provided, taking the appropriate amount of time to compensate for the distorted data provided by the Office of the Prime Minister and the recent change of the sea navigation route.
Finally, the simulation report doesn’t take into account how the new sea route will affect the natural environment around the Gureombi rock area. Besides the environmental impact of such an enormous project, failure to consider these conditions is simply dangerous for the safe entry and exit of the naval ships themselves, which is just a sign of how negligent these analyses have been. Currently the naval base in the Gangjeong village is being built within the area of the national memorial number 442, designated by the Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea, where there is the largest supply of temperate soft coral habitats in the world. With the new sea route, ships will pass through natural memorial number 421, the natural protection area of the Moon and Beom Islands, designated as an environmental protection areas and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. While the navy got permission from the Korean government to change the route, they did not seek approval from the Cultural Heritage Association for the memorial sites. A new simulation must be done for both the natural environment, and the safety of the ships’ entry and exit.
If the Government enforces the simulation this time and takes it as the basis for the enforcement of construction despite the many limitations and problems mentioned above, it will simply increase the suspicions and controversies surrounding the naval base construction in the Gangjeong village and as a result, only deepen the conflict. If the Government wants to solve their problems and end the controversies, it should stop this hasty and unreliable simulation being processed today, by itself, and should consign it to a 3rd party institute and take enough time.
January 17, 2013
Gangjeong Village Association
The Jeju Pan-Island Committee for the Stop of Military Base and for the Realization of Peace Island
National Network of Korean Civil Society for Opposing to the Naval Base in Jeju Island