A full translation from people’s statement on Feb. 25, 2016, here
Our Position on the Jeju Navy Base Construction Completion Ceremony
- On Feb. 26, the Jeju navy base construction completion ceremony is held in Gangjeong Village, land of life. It is clear that the Jeju navy base cannot create an era of peace. The Jeju navy base cannot but be an outpost which threatens the peace of northeast Asia, amid conflict for military domination between the United States and China. Rather, it would be a seed of international conflict and would trigger an arms race. Peace should be kept by peace. The Jeju navy base cannot be the answer for the peace of Northeast Asia.
- The completed Jeju navy base was built by merciless state violence which trampled villagers’ human rights and the sacred natural environment. The struggle for the last nine years has been a step towards true peace. During this time, villagers have have made efforts to counter the war base built of cement over the remains of Gureombi Rock where Gangjeong villagers had shared the breath of peace. It has been a history of peace versus state violence pushed through under the guise of a ‘national policy project,’ ignoring even the basic procedures of democracy. We will continue to build this history of peace even after the Jeju navy base construction completion ceremony.
- The Jeju navy base, built through the trampling of villagers’ human rights, has ruthlessly destroyed the Gangjeong village community. The responsibility to restore the community lies on the central and island governments which have unilaterally pushed ahead with the Jeju naval base construction. However, neither the central nor island governments have ever made efforts to restore the peaceful community of Gangjeong. The government should make an apology now for the Jeju naval base construction which was continued while the will of Gangjeong villagers was ignored. Won Hee-Ryong, the Jeju Island governor has emphasized in words only the examination of the truth, conflict resolution, and community restoration. From the point of view of the villagers he should suggest a genuine solution. The navy has merely repeated its words that they would support the collection of villagers’ opinions and the resolution of conflicts. It can only fancy itself to have played the role of ‘conflict inducer,’ ignoring the villagers’ opinions, enforcing crackdowns like carrying out military operations, threatening and splitting villagers. How can a military which is not even loved by the local residents be a military for the citizens?
4. Now by the power of Gangjeong villagers themselves, we would make Gangjeong village to be reborn as a ‘village of life and peace,’ not as a ‘military base icon.’ The declaration of this ‘village for life, peace, and culture’ was held before the navy ceremony on Feb. 26. It is the villagers’ noble step for true peace as well as the start of the restoration of the Gangjeong community. And all of us who pray for the peace of Gangjeong will strengthen our solidarity bear the blossoms of the flower of peace. In resistance we will remember and continue our actions and cries for peace in order to stop the Jeju naval base for even one minute, one second. The Jeju naval base was built with the backing of state violence. We will cover it over with the wave of peace.
Feb. 25, 2016
Gangjeong Village Association, Jeju Pan-Island Committee for Stopping the Military Base and for Realization of the Peace Island, and National Network of Korean Civil Society for Opposing the Naval Base in Jeju Island