(Fwd by Deborah Kang Eunjoo/ the Catholic Solidarity to Make Peace on Jeju)
Revoke the Naval Base in Jeju! Stop the construction immediately!
Declaration of Catholic Priests and Monks for peace on Jeju Island
- Under the instruction of the God of Life and of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, we oppose the construction of the Naval Base in Jeju. This is the desperate desire of the residents of Gangjeong Village, who have lost their livelihoods, the decision of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea, and the unchanging wish of those citizens of Korea who love life and peace on earth.
- First of all, we want to know why the Naval Base has be constructed by destroying Korea’s cleanest and clearest ocean, around Jeju Island, while advertising the intent to protect the natural heritage of Jeju. While they boast of Jeju’s status as a preservation area, world natural heritage, and GEO park designated by UNESCO, and even they are internationally advertising that it be selected as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature, they have blasted Gureombi Rock, a gift of nature, with explosives to construct a large-scale port for navy ships, and are attempting to build a concrete bank. This is the result of punishment incurred from uncontrolled greed and ignorance.
- The reason why we are against the construction of Naval Base starts from the illegality and non-democracy. The Government announced that they will respect opinions of residents, but this is not true. 725 residents participated in a survey on ‘Voting For or Against the Naval Base,’ and 680 (or 94%) of the total village residents are opposed to the construction of the Naval Base. Nevertheless, the Navy and Jeju government continued the construction and have suppressed the opposition of the residents with physical force.
- The Government insists that the Naval Base is necessary to deter North Korea’s provocations, protect our marine territory, and secure the ocean route and underwater resources. However, the substantial power to reduce conflicts between countries and maintain peace comes from neither military bases nor weapons, but from wise diplomacy pursuing co-existence and the level of policy and economy. This has been continuously proved throughout the history of the world.
Many experts say that the Naval Base in Jeju will become a US base to maintain the supremacy in Northeast Asia, unlike our expectations, and it even provokes tension around the Korean peninsula. This consideration is very practical. The conflict between China and Japan in the South China Sea and the Senkaku Islands predicted the unfortunate future of Jeju.
- The moment the construction began, artifacts from the Bronze Age were excavated. So the National Assembly and the Cultural Heritage Administration suggested that the Navy stop the construction. However, the Navy disregarded the suggestion and continued with the blasting. We cannot understand why they are in a hurry, although this is not urgent matter. In particular, the violent power exercised by the Police reminds us of that terrible historical event, ‘The 4.3 Massacre.’ We declare that if these acts of violent suppression, arrests, and captivity are repeated, then we will rise against it with an even more powerful disobedience movement.
- Today we established the ‘Catholic Church Solidarity to Make Peace on Jeju Island’ according to the Gospels of Christ, which requests that we defend lives and peace, and we declare and require the following in the names of 4,567 Catholic priests and monks.
Declaration and Requests
- We oppose the construction of the Naval Base which threatens the peace of the Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia.
- The Government must fully revoke the plans to construct a Naval Base on Jeju, and politely apologize to the residents of Gangjeong Village and Jeju Island for the illegal means by which the location of the Naval Base was selected!
- The navy must immediately stop the construction according to the advice of the Cultural Heritage Administration, and actively cooperate in the excavation of cultural heritages.
- The National Assembly must cut the budget for the construction of the Naval Base on Jeju Island.
- The Government must consider the wounds of the residents of Jeju, worry about repeating the 4.3 massacre, and apologize for the misuse of the state power!
- The Government must make full efforts to restore the natural environment which was been seriously damaged by the construction!
October. 31. 2011
The Committee of Justice & Peace Archdiocese of SEOUL / The Committee of Justice & Peace Archdiocese of DAEGU / The Committee of Justice & Peace Archdiocese of GWANGJU / The Committee of Justice & Peace Diocese of ANDONG / Justice & Peace Committee of BUSAN Diocese / The Committee of Justice & Peace Diocese CHEONGJU / The Committee of Justice & Peace Diocese of CHUNCHEON / The Committee of Justice & Peace Diocese of DAEJEON / The Committee of Justice & Peace Diocese of INCHEON / The Committee of Justice & Peace Diocese of JEJU / The Committee of Justice & Peace Diocese JEONJU / The Committee of Justice & Peace Diocese of MASAN / The Committee of Justice & Peace Diocese SUWON / The Committee of Justice & Peace Diocese of WONJU / The Solidarity of priest Diocese of UIJEONGBU / Association of Major Superiors of Women Religious in Korea / Korean Conference of Major Superiors of Men’s Religious Institutes and Societies of Apostilic Life