[Statement]South Korea: Pax Christi International signs onto 2018 International Solidarity Statement against the International Fleet Review in Jeju
20/10/18 – Pax Christi International has signed onto the 2018 International Solidarity Statement against the International Fleet Review in Jeju. The statement follows below. A number of Pax Christi members in the Asia-Pacific region have also signed onto the statement.
We, the undersigned organisations and individuals, strongly oppose the International Fleet Review which will be held at Jeju Naval Base in Gangjeong Village from 10 October. This is the biggest event by the Korean navy since Jeju naval base was constructed and around 50 vessels and 20 aircraft from 45 countries will gather in Jeju Naval Base. A marine inspection, an open house event on vessels and in the base, and a military industry exhibition are scheduled.
The international fleet review, gathering warships from around the world, will heighten the military tension in the region and create dark clouds of conflict in the midst of the growing desire to open a new era of peace and coexistence and end the war on the Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia.
Jeju Naval Base was constructed on top of state violence against the villagers, lies, and destruction of the natural environment. We all remember the coercive construction process and problems of the Jeju Naval Base. While supporting Jeju islanders’ desire to establish this beautiful island as the Island of Peace, we strongly oppose the International Fleet Review being held in Jeju Island.
Since the establishment of Jeju Naval Base, the militarization of Jeju Island has sped up. Warships from different countries including a U.S. nuclear submarine have already been frequently visiting the Jeju Naval Base. In addition to this, a U.S. nuclear aircraft carrier will also join the International Fleet Review. We are concerned that this International Fleet Review will widen the gate of the Jeju Naval Base to the Japanese and the U.S. warships. The U.S. Pacific commander already expressed his wish to station a Zumwalt Stealth Destroyer at the Jeju Naval Base. In addition to building the naval base, the Korean Navy reinforced the marine corps in Jeju and also expressed its plan to use the 2nd airport as its air base which the Government is forcibly working to construct in Seongsan, Jeju Island.
The militarization of Jeju Island will retrogress peace on the Korean Peninsula, and expedite militarization in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific. The U.S. changed the Pacific Command into Indo-Pacific Command last May. This clearly shows its will to prioritize military hegemony in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific, instead of peaceful cooperation. The U.S. has not been hiding its plan to establish a NATO-like military alliance in the Indo-Pacific region. Many peace organisations are concerned that Jeju Island will become an outpost against China by the U.S. and its military allies.
Under this circumstances, the International Fleet Review will internationally establish the existence and military use of the Jeju Naval Base. This seriously jeopardizes the future vision of Jeju Island as ‘The Island of Peace’ declared by the South Korean government in 2005. It also damages environment of Beom Island which is designated as the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
The two Koreas declared ‘a new era of peace’ and are walking towards the establishment of a peace system and denuclearization on the Korean peninsula. Korean people’s efforts to move on to peace and coexistence from the hostility of the past should be linked to efforts to make the Pacific peaceful. We support Jeju islanders’ desire to make a “genuine” Island of Peace and oppose the militarization of the Pacific. The International Fleet Review in Jeju Island must be stopped immediately.
No International Fleet Review in Jeju!
Shut down the Jeju Naval Base!
Stop the Militarization of Jeju! Stop the Militarization of the Ocean!
Let’s make Jeju Island the Island of Peace, Let’s make the Pacific the sea of Peace!