The Jeju naval base issue still appears sensitive  in the 1st presidential debate

Two weeks later, there will be the South Korean Presidential election on Dec. 19 that would be the critical watershed for the whole Korea, and highly likely Asia pacific, too: If Park Geun-Hye, Presidential candidate of the ruling conservative Saenuri Party, and a daughter of the deceased ex-President Park Chung-Hee who ruled Korea for 18 years with military dictatorship, becomes the next President, the future of inter-Korean relationship would be more stifled, which would bring more instability in the Asia Pacific then, given the increasingly intensified confrontation between the United States and China (See the related news article, here)

The Presidential election is now of the highest concern for the people against the Jeju naval base project. As the budget talk was postponed after the Presidential election and the budget matter would critically depend on the result of the Presidential election, people’s goal is now to win over the Saenuri party through people’s unity.

However, in the 1st Presidential candidates’ debate on the issues of foreign policy, politics, and security, that lasted from 8 to 9:40 pm on Dec. 4 (See the news article, here), the issue of the Jeju naval base project which is in fact, a center subject regarding the relationship with US and China was only very shortly mentioned. It could be partly because of the debate frame that does not allow talks in depth. However, you can say, it is still media-controlled and sensitive issue in Korea.

If there was any talk on the Jeju naval base project on Dec. 4 debate, it was raised as a tool by Park Geun-Hye who attempted to attack Moon Jae-In and Lee Jung-Hee, the Presidential Candidates of the Democratic Party and United Progressive Party with the issues of National Security law, ROK-US FTA and Jeju naval base issue, for the purpose of red-baiting and defame of the two opposition parties for their posed cooperation on the issues. It was Lee Jung-Hee who acutely refuted Park, reminding her of the Saenuri Party’s unilateral railroading of 2013 Jeju naval base budget on Nov. 28, to the infringement on the dignity of National Assembly, which was strongly protested by opposition groups. Moon Jae-In’s repute was more on general remark on the need of unity on the issues between two opposition parties against the ruling party.

Lee was clear to say that “regarding the Jeju naval base issue, there have been problems even before the first budget passage in the National Assembly in 2007. I hope candidate Moon has a same attitude with me to totally re-examine and stop the project without fail.” However, the talk on the Jeju naval base budget did not go any more. Moon was too cautious to openly talk on the Jeju naval base issue. (See the Jeju Sori, Dec. 4, 2012)

Whatever the politicians’ calculations on the naval base issue are, it is the people in the struggle field of Gangjeong, who are directly experiencing the daily violence by state power.


The scenes of Gangjeong on the  night of the 1st Presidential debate

Here are some scenes on the very debate night.


The sit-in tent in Gangjeong: Around 8:40 pm, Dec. 4

Around 8:40, Dec. 4, people who experience day and night struggle under the police oppression and company thugs’ physical muscle gathered in front of sit-in tent across construction gates to watch the Presidential candidates’ debate through TV.

The protest site in Gangjeong on Dec. 4: Around 9:10 pm

Around 9:10 pm, construction vehicles came and police circling of people began. “Why don’t you just watch the TV?” “We’ve come here during watching TV, too. You are the ones who should just watch the TV.” It was a conversation between the peacekeepers and policemen. When the police were to remove the lumbers filed up as people’s barricade, “We will do,” peacekeepers took them away and patterned out. It seems to take similar time whether the police threw them out far away to the edge of the Gangjeong stream or the peacekeepers put them in pattern at the side of protest field, even though the peace keepers would suffer from such job again and again. “When did you start this way?” “Just minutes ago.” “It is a good idea.” It was a moment of the wisdom of the civil disobedience shining.

People’s protest, Gangjeong, Dec. 4

However the police muscle running right after the peace keepers made sit-in was same, “Ah.. I feel pain with my wrist. Do not pull away my arm!” “Don’t fold down my fingers!” The police circling of people ended with people’s scream again: Very routine, here.

After the Presidential candidates’ TV debate, around 9:50 pm, Dec. 4

People watched the TV discussion again circling and sitting around a five stove, “Was there any mention on the Jeju naval base issue?” “Lee Jung-Hee questioned about it. But the debate moderator cut the chances on answers to it.” “Did he? Then when will they talk about the issue?” “ Well..we don’t kbnow. Maybe in the tourism section since it is the Civilian-Military Complex Port for Tour Beauty..” We all laughed hearing that.. “Maybe they may talk in art section, since it is related to Beauty (maybe in the high-tech art section..) The issue on the Jeju naval base project has been constantly media-controlled. That is why the politicians need to hush up on it? Or has the program itself been affected by Samsung?

Here is the postscript during the night protest during which  the police carelessly pushed people downside the road toward the Gangejong stream. .. “I was almost to fall into the edge of it. There is no distinguishion between the police and thugs.” (A peacekeeper named Park)


Music concert to cut the Jeju naval base budget 

The Gangjeong Elating and Spicy Flower band(Flower band) started its concert campaign to cut the whole budget on the Jeju naval base project in front of the protest field of construction gate on Dec. 4. The music concert is held every 4 pm in front of the construction gate. It is open to everybody.

Jo Yak Gol, member of the band writes.

“During the performance, the police rushed to us and took away mike and amp. Then they violently circled us. We are keeping this site without a step back against the violence of them who enforce illegal naval base construction. Even though they oppress us, we keep the site, singing and dancing. Let’s revoke the Jeju naval base project by our unity.”

Source: Click here


A campaign to cut budgets on the naval base project and to elect President of Peace

Full page ad of Hangyoreh newspaper yesterday(December 4).. .Urging the stop of Jeju naval base budget and. . .campaign to make the year of 2013 as the first year of Peace Treaty by electing the President of Peace. It was organized by SPARK (Facebook post by Regina Pyon)

An ad. to elect the President of Peace,  Hankyoreh, Nov. 4, 2012


Video  maker Dungree made a parody video on Park Geun-Hye.
Source: click here


[Lee Jung-Hee said] “Masao Takaki – Korean name Park Chung-hee – signed a blood oath of loyalty to the Japanese emperor, and his Yushin administration was intended to protect the country from ’leftist communist sympathizers,‘” “The Saenuri Party and Park Geun-hye are the roots of collaboration and dictatorship and do not have the right to sing the national anthem.” Upon hearing this, Park’s face turned red and was overtaken by a stern expression. (See Hankyoreh, Nov. 5, 2012)


Images of Non-Violent protest (Facebook posts by Regina Pyon and Park Jong-Hoon)


Jesuit priests and brother. . .From the left, Br. DoHyun Park, Fr. Kim Sung-hwan and Fr. Chonguk Kim. . .They have shaved the heads on November 29 at the same site urging the stop of Jeju naval base budget. . .this was taken yesterday just after the mass. . .For more photos by Jang Hyun-woo, here. (Post by Regina Pyon)

Poet Lee has come back to Gangjeong very recently after a break. . .and then like this…this photo was taken yesterday morning. Photos by Jang Hyun-woo, here. (Post by Regina Pyon)

Artist Koh Gil-chun in protest. Photos by Jang Hyun-woo, here. ”He did many artworks on Gureombi coast and Gangjeong village, some of them already disappeared or were destroyed. . . very committed Jeju native artist. . . You can also find his great artworks in the April 3 peace museum in Jeju. (Facebook note by Regina Pyon)

Photo by Park Jong-Hoon, a peacekeeper reads a book between the struggle times.


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