The writing below by Oh Hye-Ran was originally written for the Gangjeong Village Story: Monthly News from the Struggle | Decemeber Issue. (See the 1st page). The original Korean writing was translated by the Save Jeju Now and proofread by Uni Park.
Jeju naval Base Budget Cut, Construction Stop and Peace
The cut on the naval base is a core link that can actually stop naval base construction
By Oh Hye-Ran, Co-convener, National Network of Korean Civil Society for Opposing to the Naval Base in Jeju Island
The National Assembly cut 96 % of the Jeju naval base budget in December of 2011. The budget cut was a reprimand on the slapdash base layout, strongly expressing that construction must stop with verification on the flawed layout to be the first priority. In truth, the sub-investigation committee on the Jeju naval base project of the Budget and Balance Committee of the National Assembly demanded the Government to verify the matter of safe entry and exit for cruise ships in the Jeju Civilian-Military Complex Port (Jeju naval base) and to report the results.
A year later, it was disclosed that it is difficult for a cruise weighing 150,000 ton to safely enter and exit the port because the turning field and navigation route in the layout are short of legal standards. It was also disclosed that there are many problems even for the large military vessels to enter and exit the port. Another disclosed fact different from the Government explanation that it is a ROK base, is that the Jeju naval base is being built following the standards demanded by the CNFK (Commander of US Navy Forces of Korea) for the US aircraft carrier Flotilla to be able to enter the port.
Also disclosed was that the Government executed outside pressure in operation on the ‘Technical Verification Committee on the Cruise Entry and Exit of Port,’formed following the National Assembly recommendation, and in adaptation of the report. It was disclosed as well that the National Policy Control meeting (Feb. 19, 2012) in which the Government decided resumption on the construction drive was also based on incorrect simulation.
Only with the facts exposed during the technical verification process and without all other matters, the Jeju naval base construction must be stopped. However, the Lee Myung-Bak Government is enforcing construction by ignoring the National Assembly recommendation and by hiding, distorting and manipulating related facts, from the position of the navy. It is known that the biggest power supporting the Lee Myung-Bak Government is the military, Samsung, civil engineering and building contractors, and armament expansionists who have expanded their power relying on division and the Korean War.
The Jeju naval base budget cut was the hottest issue in the preparatory review of the defense budget in the National Assembly this year. The ruling Saenuri Party and opposition Democratic United Party (DP) countered each other in claims: Approval on the total budget as the Government proposal vs. cut on the whole amount of 201 billion won budget. The Seanuri Party used the Jeju naval base issue as the tool for the concentration of the conservative votes and for the attack on the DP. On Nov. 28, the Seanuri Party passed the Jeju naval base budget in snatched way, trampling down, by itself, the National Assembly recommendation presented in agreement with the opposition party a year ago.
The position of Park Geun-Hye and her Sanuri Party is that the Jeju naval base is inevitably necessary and that she would build the Jeju naval base as a world-famous civilian-military complex port much like the one in Hawaii. Moon Jae-In, candidate of the DP made a pledge that he would stop the Jeju naval base construction and re-examine the project if he is elected. If candidate, Park Geun-Hye is elected President on the Presidential Election Day on Dec. 19, the 24 hour construction will be enforced and the dynamic force of the opposition movement will rapidly fall. On the contrary, if candidate Moon Jae-In is elected, there is a possibility that he would take a measure to stop construction and the opposition movement against the naval base project would be sprung upward.
The Gangjeong villagers and peace-keepers have delayed construction by halting the entry of vehicles at the entrance times seven to ten times daily for at least 5- 10 minutes each. The efforts have resulted in about 50 billion won that the navy could not execute in construction work. If by encouraging citizens actions to oppose paying taxes on this unreasonable, unreliable security project and the entire 2013 Jeju naval base budget is cut in the Budget and Balance Committee of the National Assembly which is to be held after the Presidential election, the construction budget that the navy retains will run out around March or April of next year. Even though they will want to continue the 24 hour construction, it cannot be possible without the budget.
Given that, to cut the entire budget on the Jeju naval base is in fact a core link stopping the construction. Even though Moon Jae-In may be elected in the Presidential Election there is little things he can do until after his Presidential inauguration, planned date of Feb. 25, 2012. The Saenuri Party will gear up to pass the entire Jeju naval base budget not only in the case that Park Geun-Hye is elected but even if she fails in the presidency. The National Assembly’s examination of the Jeju naval base budget to be held right after the Presidential election, would be a very important watershed for the struggle, and could decide the prospect of the struggle against the naval base project.
Through the construction of the Jeju naval base in Gangjeong village is, the United States will exploit this beautiful and heaven-blessed Jeju to make it outpost to contain China. The Jeju history of suffering as a former war base under Japanese imperialism and the painful scars from the 4.3 massacres shortly after liberation from Japan must not be repeated in Gangjeong village today. Next year marks the 60th commemorating year of the cession of the Korean War. The Cease Fire Agreement must be replaced with a Peace Agreement to permanently prevent war and to systematize peace.
I dream of the day when the peace of North East Asia starts with the peace in Gangjeong village and on the Korean peninsula, by engaging international solidarity to Gangjeong village for the Jeju naval base budget cut and to stop construction, and with the establishment of the Government through regime change that would realize inter-Korean conciliation and cooperation, concluding with a peace agreement in Korea.