By Choi Sung-hee

The sit-in in front of the Jeju Island government hall against the 2nd Jeju airport (air force base), which started by Kim Kyung-bae, a Seongsan resident(50), on Dec. 19, last year, who carried out 38 days’ fast, has continued so far with the participation of more citizens in Jeju and nationwide. On Jan. 17, two Jeju women, Yoon Kyung-mi (47) and Oum Mun-hee (46) joined indefinite hunger strike. And Choi Sung-hee (53) joined them, too, on Jan. 24. People around nation (especially young people and Green Party members) and even international citizens like Russell Wray in the United States joined their fasts one day or more than that, in solidarity with the fasters and No 2nd Jeju airport campaign. While Yoon and Choi had no choice but to end their hunger strikes respectively after 23 and 24 days due to the worsening condition of their health, Oum hits her 37th day fast as of February 22.

From left to right: Kim Kyung-bae, Yoon Kyung-mi, Oum Mun-hee, and Choi Sung-hee/ A photo by Kim Suo

 As the provisional meeting of the Island Council approached, people focused on the Island Council to produce a resolution to demand the government halt of the basic planning for the 2nd Jeju airport. The meeting opened on February 19th and we will see the result of it on February 27th. So far, 27 of 43 Island Council members signed to the draft of a resolution. Meanwhile, Won Hee-Ryong, the Island governor announced his will to drive for the 2nd Jeju airport on February 20th, the next day of opening of Island Council. Won’s statement on the need of 2nd Jeju airport was full of lies and manipulation of data and facts. Partly, he strongly denied the prospect that the 2nd Jeju airport would be used as an air force base. However, when Oum and I visited an Island Council member (when I was still fasting), he clearly stated, “The 2nd Jeju Airport? It is right to say it is an air force base, whatever rhetoric is used.” Here I, translate my own statement ending my 24 days’ fast, written on Feb. 17th.


Ending the 24 days’ fast to demand the halt of basic planning for the 2nd Jeju Airport.

I had three demands when I started an indefinite fast on Jan. 24th

Firstly, the South Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport (MOLIT) should stop the launch of basic planning for the 2nd Jeju airport!

Secondly, Won Hee-Ryong, Jeju Island governor, should collect the public opinion of Jeju Islanders!

Thirdly, the Island Council and three Jeju-based National Assembly men should demand the MOLIT the halt of basic planning for the 2nd Jeju airport.

And I ended my 24 days’ fast on Feb. 16th due to the worsening condition of my health (My blood-sugar level indicated the critical risk). I wondered whether my, and my friends’ fasts reached to the politicians even in echo or not.

I am now in hospital taking liquid water content. As I take it, I feel that my blood-sugar level comes back, headache and stuffiness in my chest disappears, and my organs are a little being recovered. I became to realize more clearly how the Jeju society where I live in and so called Jeju political field are drugged by the game of capital and power. Therefore, even though the achievement of my fast is humble, I never regret my fast. Rather, I could look at the reality I live in more properly and I thank that the targets I have to fight became more obvious.

During the fast, I met some politicians whom we elected or not whenever we held the signs in the Presidential House, Island Government, City Hall, and Island Council. And I became to know why our voice were not reached to them even in eco.

Whether it was the central government, Island government, Island Council, National Assembly man, or anybody else, the voice of Islanders was not important. What is important to them was the voice of capital and military. They say they are taking politics. The politics they say means ‘their own’ politics and the politics by the “politico.”  They were there not to represent our voice from the beginning. I will call it oligarchy. I will call it oligopoly, which could head to Fascism.

On February 14th, when I was still in fast, the approximate look of the basic planning for the 2nd Jeju airport was reported in a news. In a map, all the areas of Jeju were divided in five spheres of living, marked with different colors, without any consultation to Jeju Islanders. Namwon and Pyoseon, just next to Seongsan in the east and Andeok and Daejeong in the southwest were tied together as the southern sphere of living which is characterized as a region of the rear support for aviation and specialized education. It was a map which shows how the effect of the planned 2nd Jeju Airport in Seongsan would be connected to the changes of not only the east Jeju but the southwest and whole area of Jeju. Between the east and west of the southern sphere of living, there are other towns which include Gangjeong village where I have lived for near 9 years in opposition to the Jeju navy base. The navy is planning to build a navy museum and premium outlet as a part of community recovery project.

Image by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport(MOLIT). According to its basic planning for the 2nd Jeju airport, the whole Jeju is divided as the above. For the translation of text, see the bottom of the this page. Source: Jeju Today, Feb. 24, 2019

According to the MOLIT, roads are extended or newly built toward the planned area for the 2nd Jeju Airport in Seongsan, east part of the Island. The government is planning to finish the basic planning by June 23th. It is planning to build the 2nd Jeju airport by 2025 with the budget of around 5 trillion won (around $5billion USD) Source: Jeju Today, Feb. 24, 2019

It was in 2005 when Kyle Kajihiro, a peace activist from Hawaii told that there is an island he is most envious, which was Jeju. “Why? Because there is no military base.”  It was in 2014 when the so-called Asia-biggest Jeju Aerospace museum opened, which was two years before the opening of the Jeju navy base in 2016, Now in the museum, you can see a grim air force gallery.  Under the name of local self-governing and decentralization, Jeju is becoming a laboratory and museum of neo-liberalism and militarism for the centralization.  I will call it Fascism.

In the Air force gallery of Jeju Aerspace Museum, it is read, “The ROK air force is making effort to equip the power of aerospace which will carry out military duty by controlling and utilizing out aerospace assets in the sky and universe.” / Photo by Choi Sung-hee

However, I also saw beautiful people who make efforts to save their sanity life and hometown(see the video of Seongsan residents who block the MOILT members in protest to the Ministry’s unilateral enforcement of the 2nd Jeju airport), to recover the life of land and sea , facing the power of capital and military. Now we should listen to them more. I became to firmly believe that it is us, the Jeju Islanders to whom we should appeal as the ultimate subjects. Yes, it is ourselves. It is us who will decide the fate of Jeju. That is my priceless conclusion in exchange of 24 days’ fast at the cost of my constricted blood vessels, crushed organs, and white-cheeked face.

People picketing and doing 100 bows inside the Island Council/ Photo by Kim Soon-ae on Feb. 19th.
People organize a trip to the planned area of 2nd Jeju airport in Seongsan. You can see one of the Jeju’s most popular tourism sports called Seongsan Ilchul-bong in the background. About 10 oreums(parasitic cones), 42 species of birds, 43 wells of spring water, 11caves and 16 shines are at the risk of destruction/ Photo by Lee Ki-cheol.
Artists in Jeju join the residents in Nansan-ri, Seongsan, to celebrate the 1st full moon in a new lunar year. Nansan-ri is one of the five villages directly affected by the 2nd Jeju airport. Nansa-ri is also a hometown by Kim Kyung-bae/ Photo by Roh Min-Kyu. For more photos, see here
Citizens against the 2nd Jeju airport. A photo after the celebration of the first full moon in a new lunar year. You can see Oum Mun and Kim Kyung-bae in the front (2nd and 3rd from the left/ Photo by Kim Suo, Jan. 18th, 2019)

I still demand:

Firstly, the South Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport (MOLIT) should stop the launch of basic planning for the 2nd Jeju airport!

Secondly, Won Hee-Ryong, Jeju Island governor, should collect the public opinion of Jeju Islanders!

Thirdly, the Island Council and three Jeju-based National Assembly men should demand the MOLIT the halt of basic planning for the 2nd Jeju airport.

February, 17th, 2019

Choi Sung-hee who ended 24 days’ fast as of Feb. 16th.

On Feb. 15th, I and my friends waited for the officers of MOLIT to protest to its unilateral enforcement of the 2nd Jeju airport(air force base). The next day, I was carried to hospital as my blood-sugar level reached to its limit/ photo by Lee Ki-cheol


Translation of the map above

Mid-mountain special management area (pale green)

: The area for the preservation and experience of what is Jeju-like

_ Preservation of resource of Jeju’s own ecological and geographical value

_Restraint of reckless development and eco-friendly development of development-possible area

_ Excavation of potential values of the mid-mountain area for the future Jeju

Jeju-dong sphere of living (pale yellow)

: International exchange and pivot management, cultural center area

_ Strengthening of international exchange as an international freedom city

_Supplementation of tour & vacation facility through the connection between Oreum and golf course

Northern sphere of living (deep yellow)

: Rear residential area and carbon-free clean area

_Realignment as an eco-friendly rural residential area in the rear of Jeju City

_Specialization as a foothold for the production of new renewable energy and study

_Strengthening pf tourism function in the kind of education and experience, utilized of geological resource.

Seogwipo Sphere of Living (deep green)

: Center area for International maritime, recuperation tourism, and life and culture

-Promotion of capability as a foothold for the international tourism in the future of Jeju

_ Growth as an area of foothold for maritime rest tourism and leisure sports

Southern sphere of living (blue)

: Aviation, rear support and specialized education

-Construction of the 2nd Jeju airport and development of nearby areas around the airport

_ Strengthening of maritime leisure sports function based on harbor and marina

_ Strengthening of history tourism function in Jeju

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