1. The Ministry of Nation Defense reported its will to continue construction
It was Jan. 11 that the Ministry of National Defense was told to have reported to the Presidential transition committee that the ministry would continue the Jeju naval base construction without stop. The Jeju Domin Ilbo, Jan. 12, 2013 reads:
The Chosun Ilbo reported through its Jan. 12 article that the Ministry of National Defense (MND) has declared its policy of enforcement on the Jeju naval base project, through its Jan. 11 job report to the Presidential transition committee.
The Chosun Ilbo, citing the words by the core personnel of the committee, reported that ‘the Ministry of National Defense has stated its position that it should continue the Jeju naval base construction even with inputting the remaining budgets from the last year.’
The personnel said that the ministry took three reasons for continuing construction: 1. It would take a tremendous period to recruit again workers in case of construction resumption 2. It would take damage compensation for construction stop. 3. The opposition groups’ repulsions will be intensified in case of construction resumption.
In other words, the ministry meant that, while there are currently about 230 domestic and foreign workers in the Jeju naval base project, it would take five months to recruit workers again after construction stop and it would have to pay about 6.5 billion won of damage compensation cost for construction stop to the construction companies that are working employing various heavy equipments.
It is known that the MND also emphasized that the construction period would be extended without defined due because of expected more intensification of the repulsions by opposing groups in case the Jeju naval base construction is resumed after its stop.
2. People’s request to meet the chairman of the Presidential transition committee was denied.
It was Jan. 13, Sunday, that the representatives of the villagers left the village in the early dawn to join the press conference in Seoul, with the representatives of the National Network of Korean Civil Society for Opposing to the Naval Base in Jeju Island and Jeju Pan-Island Committee for the Stop of Military Base and for Realization of Peace Island. It was a day when the Defense Acquisition Program Administration(DAPA) also delivered its job report to the Presidential transition committee. The Press conference for thorough verification and construction stop was held in front of the building of the Presidential transition committee, Samchungdong, Seoul. After the conference, Kang Dong-Kyun, mayor of the village, Mr. Go Gwon-Il, chairman of the Villagers’ Committee to Stop the Naval Base and Mr. Bae Gi-Chul, co-representative of the Pan-Island Committee delivered their opinion statement and a letter by Mr. Yoon Sang-Hyo, a village elder and member of the advisory board of the village. See the letter at the bottom.
The representatives also requested to meet the Chairman of the Presidential transition committee, demanding the construction stop, but it was finally rejected to the fury and remorse of the people. There was a press conference denouncing the committee’s rejection at 4pm. Mayor Kang expressed his strong sorriness saying that “How will the new government communicate with the people if it shows its non-communicative attitude from the time of transition?” See the Korean article, here.
3. People’s letters for the demand of construction stop to Park Geun-Hye
The below is the expert translations from the letters to Park Geun-Hye, the so called the President-elect regarding whom the controversy on unfair election is still going on, by the opposing groups and Mr. Yoon Sang-Hyo, a village elder. You can see the original Korean language letters, here.
Excerpt from the letter by the opposing groups
According to some press report, it is told that the Ministry of National defense has reported to the Presidential transition committee on Jan. 11 that it would continue the Jeju naval base construction without stop. Its main logic is that if construction is stopped, it would take much time to recruit the domestic and foreign workers again and billions won of damage compensation costs following construction stop is expected again. It is a poor logic to be used for the government and navy not to carry the pledge by the members of ruling and opposition parities of the National Assembly to the citizens and villagers. Are the National Assembly’s Constitutional rights to legislation and budget & balance cheaper than billions won? Further isn’t it that the government who has promised a thorough verification disclosing itself its intention for no thorough verification to the world, to enforce construction as if verification has been all done? It means that the government and navy are to push an unreliable state policy project without villagers’ agreement disregarding matters. The behavior itself is the derision and provocation of the villagers and Island people. We ask whether it is a way that Park Geun-Hye, the [so-called]President-elect who has emphasized on trust, agrees with. We demand: The government and navy should immediately stop construction.
President-elect, Park Geun-Hye, the National Assembly has demanded again of 70 days’ thorough verification at the end of 2012 since the verification on the flawed base layout that the ruling and opposition parties had promised to the Jeju island people at the end of 2011 had not been thoroughly done. For the 70 days’ verification to help to settle all the controversies and conflicts in relation to the naval base construction in the Gangjeong village, it has to be a thorough verification truly to the name. The government and Jeju Island should present a proper & independent verification methods and period so that ‘a though verification work,’ could be entirely accomplished. However, the navy is saying that it would finish a verification in 10 days, starting around Jan. 20. On the contrary, the position of experts is that it should take at least six months for a proper verification to be established. The hasty schedule to finish verification on Jan. 30 should be totally re-examined. The verification institute should be re-examined, too. For a thorough verification, the 3rd institute should be newly designated and carry it, following the subsidiary conditions by the sub-investigation committee on the Jeju naval base project of the Budget and Balance Committee of the National Assembly [in 2011], for the conflicts not to be more intensified.
The verification work should be a process in which common-sensible and reasonable evaluation and verification on the below matters should be established.
-The matter of the proper and reasonable of the location selection to build a giant port in Gangjeong, a projected area at the southern tip of the Jeju Island, exposed with the strongest wind and sea waves, currents and typhoons in the Jeju Island
-An objective and scientific examination on the influence to the area of the natural memorial No. 421 and 422 ecology system protection area, and the UNESCO biosphere reserve, which are located in the port and entry-exit navigation routes,
– Matter of the precedent cases of ports that carry the functions of the civilian and military at the same time, its smooth operation possibility, validity and reasonability
-And the matter of the residents’ agreement on the execution process of the construction, as well as of the mental, physical violence and conflict-fostering behaviors by the state power and civilian companies that employ thugs
Excerpt from the letter by Mr. Yoon Sang-Hyo
I am a country old man. I was born in the Gangjeong village and have never left my hometown. I am 77 years old.
The Gangjeong village established about 450 years ago has been called as the Il-Gangjeong (一江汀), meaning the best village because of its beautiful nature and rich farm lands. Further it was designated as the ecology-excellent village by the Ministry of Environment in 2005. And I was excited with the will to more preserve and keep water and ecology, the big pride of Gangjeong.
However, the issue that had been driven with various kinds of underground promotions, appeasements, operations, became to appear on the surface on April 26, 2007, like the lightening in the clear sky. And only after that, I and majority of villagers became to know the fact.
Especially it was a time that ex-Ministry of National Defense, Kim Jang-Sou visited the Island on April 13, 2007, when the location of the naval base construction had been decided in Weemee, Namwon-eup, therefore, the Weemee villagers’ protest in front of the Island government hall, opposing the plan of the installation naval base in their village reached its highest. In other words, the decision to install the naval base in Gangjeong was decided only in 13 days.
Also, the Gureombi Rock is like a bosom of our mother. It has been more than two years that I could not sleep in the nights hearing the moaning of the Gureombi day and night, which is like mother’s breast but being torn to pieces by the noise of explosives and excavators.
The state power that has to protect the property and life of the citizens has arrested more than 690 villagers and peace keepers, imprisoned 22 people and made indiscriminate legal disposal on more than 480 people. A village that has lived peacefully for hundreds years is being terribly destroyed and the peace keepers who are with us are crying shedding bloody tears.
The Gangjeong villagers are not opposing against security and ideology but opposing against the naval base project, to save the site and community that has been succeeded from our ancestors to generations and to live happily with our neighbors. I will tell you why I and the Gangjeong villagers oppose the naval base construction.
Firstly, it is because of the procedural flaws.
Not to mention the villagers’ agreement, there was no presentation meeting [to get villagers’ agreement]. From the procedure for agreement to that of expropriation, it is an undemocratic and immoral project. It was such a preposterous incident in which even the villagers’ rights to participation and private property protected by the Constitution have been violated. We, the villagers, suffer for unfairness because our village is where the Constitution was trampled down by the State power. Such flawed administration has to be nullified.
Secondly, it is a matter of location selection.
Despite the fact that it is an important national policy by which the fate of a nation depends on, the target area of the project was decided only in 13 days without prior investigation on the location reasonability. The governing management capacity will be continuously suspected and be the target of criticism. Therefore the project should be re-examined without fail after investigation and examination.
Thirdly, it is a matter of the reason of the cancellation of absolute preservation area.
The Gureombi Rock, the target area of the naval base is a site that has been designated as the absolute preservation area by the Special law of the Jeju Special Self-Governing Island. Because of the weak power of the Island, the power and big capital can destroy the nature environment of the Island in the name of ‘development,’ any time. The preservation system was set up to stop horrible destruction by them and is divided by three stages of absolute preservation zones, relative preservation zones and preservation zones. Among them, absolute preservation zones are the sites defined as the sites where cancellation is impossible at any case. Still it was cancelled in the illegally snatched way. In other words, a preposterous thing happened, in which a legislated system to block the things such as the naval base in Gangjeong was illegally cancelled so that the beautiful nature environment of the Jeju Island could not be kept in the future .
Fourthly, the so called civilian-military complex port for tour beauty is absolutely impossible.
It is not only because there is no such port in the world but it is impossible that the civilian and military use a port together. It is like that oil and water cannot be mixed together.
Fifthly, the Jeju has already two cruise ports in the Jeju City and Hwasoon so there is no problem with the invitation of cruise tourists.
Last year, a 140,000 ton cruise has already entered the Jeju port for tour. And cruise tour is carried on, used of dinghies in the Hwasoon port that is a natural port. Our country doesn’t have much money. It should be necessarily examined and analyzed why the government plans to make one more cruise port in this small Island.
Sixthly, we can never acknowledge a naval base built with frauds.
At the time of 2007 after the village was selected as a location, real admiral Kim Sung-Chan, the chief of naval strategic planning then declared that there would not be land expropriation at any case, in the site where 400 villagers gathered hearing that there was a presentation explanation.
He said that he did not have the slightest plan for expropriation even though he would build the base by landfill of the the sea if consulted negotiation on land purchase is not accomplished. However as soon as he became the Chief of General staff, he expropriated lands. My heart is broken by the reality of our country where a general becomes promoted and rises to a high position as a National Assembly member despite his lies and frauds.
(* Note: Kim Sung Chan is now a member of the Defense Committee of the National Assembly)
Mentioned as above, I will not oppose the naval base in Gangjeong if there were any thing that was justly driven.
Currently, the Gangjeong villagers became antagonized, hating and not trusting one another, not to mention not being able to trust any administration or military due to their lies and estrangement behaviors onto the villagers. Moreover, affection between parents and children was collapsed therefore we are in the middle of suffering and pain [because of the naval base issue that has brought in con-and pro conflicts to the villagers][..]
You, the President-elect, has promised the great unity of citizens and stated that you would respect the National Assembly for co-existence. However, it was never precedent that the National Assembly passed the budget bill passing the due of the year, with its subsidiary conditions attached to the budget bill on the naval base at 6am of Jan. 1, 2013. The National Assembly had not kept the items agreed by the ruling and opposition parties in the budget and balance committee of the National Assembly in 2011.
As the navy pushing the project interpreting the meaning of the National subsidiary conditions-budget execution after verification- as the construction first then budget execution, construction companies are violently enforcing the project with the police at the head in the village from the dawn of everyday.
You, the President-elect, has stated that it is right that the Jeju naval base should be driven after the agreement by the Island people is established.
For us, last six years were like a war daily. Please save the Gangjeong villagers of the kindhearted and good. Please help this old country man to see our Gangjeong village to recover its original beautiful and peaceful appearance in my life time. Please help to make our country where the people are the true masters.
Yoon Sang-Hyo, Gangjeong villager