The prayer of Kim Kyung-bae

Kim Kyung-bae and Fr. Huh Chan-ran, Sejong City Dec. 20, 2019/ photo by Choi Sung-hee

On the night of Dec. 20, Kim Kyung-bae, a resident living in the Jeju 2nd airport-planned area of Nansan-ri, Seongsan, ended his 10 day street fast as he dramatically met Cho Myung-rae, Minister of Environment (MOE) before his decision to end the fast.

Dec. 20 hit the 10th day of Kim’s street fast. The white letters in the black banner read, ” The 10th day street fast struggle for [the MOE’s] disagreement with [the MOLIT’s] SEA on the Jeju 2nd airport.”

Kim has started fast to demand the MOE to disagree with the original draft of Strategic Environment Impact Assesment (SEA) made by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport (MOLIT).

On Dec.19th, the MOE sent the MOLIT the 2nd demand of supplements on the SEA. The MOE has already made the 1st supplement demand this October. And to the draft before the original, this June, also. Everytime, MOLIT answer to MOE regarding the SEA was unreliable and insincere.

After the MOE’s such announcement, the greatest issue for Kim was whether the MOE’s supplement demand to the MOLIT included the issue on the legally-protected species. Media articles on the MOE demand did not show that it included the issue. Therefore, Kim decided not to end the fast, which he carried out even without tent on the street in front of MOE and MOLIT building (both are in the same building), government complex, Sejong City, since Dec. 11th.

Snow fell down on the vinyl the two used for cover during the night of Dec. 19. Photo by Choi Sung-hee in the morning of Dec. 20, 2019.
Kim Kyung-bae with his friends. Photo by Choi Sung-hee, Dec. 20

And finally, in the evening of Dec. 20th, Minister Cho heard the new that Kim would not end fast. Minister Cho met Kim and Kim’s supporters/ friends on the night of Dec. 20th (just last night!). Kim told Minister Cho about the legally-protected species in the planned area of Seongsan, which are missed in the MOLIT’s SEA.

Hearing Kim, Cho, who had not been informed of the issue, asked Kim videos of those species in Seongsan. Minister Cho said to Kim that he would do his best.

Kim who could finally end the fast expressed thanks to everyone, including Fr. Huh Chan-ran, co-executive representative of Islanders’ Emergency Committee to Stop the 2nd Jeju Airport. Fr. Huh stayed with Kim from Dec. 12, sleeping with Kim under the cold sky, and holding a mass for Kim on the sit-in site.

Fr. Huh Chan-ran held a a mass for Kim Kyung-bae at Kim’s street sit-in fast site, Sejong City on Dec. 16th (source)

Kim who has carried out long term fasts respectively for 42 days and 38 days in 2017 and the next year, also, wrote the below on his facebook post when he and the others little expected that he would meet Minister Cho soon in hours.

“I must save not only my life but all the lives along with me. The lives which would be expelled or killed from the planned area for the 2nd airport. [There are legally protected species. Some of those are] Falcon, a natural monument, as well the 1st class endangered species; narrow mouth toad, the 2nd class endangered species; chuckoo, a natural monument.

I will not halt my street fast struggle unless the issue of legally protected species is included in the MOE’s demand of supplement again to the MOLIT”

And in his another post on his 4th day fast, he wrote as the below.

” The fourth day of fasting in front of the Government complex building in Sejong City

Last night, my mother who will be soon 90 years old called me.

She was about to cry.

“Where are you?”

“Yes, I am somewhere.”

“Are you OK?”

“I am very fine.”

“Don’t do it so long and come back home soon.”

“Yes, mother, it will not be long. I will be back, soon.”

She came to know of my fast through the news. She must have cried again after she hung up her phone, just as she cried for a long time to see my cast-worn leg when I was greatly hurt during the protest this October.

Whenever I am fasting, she can hardly eat. I feel so bad to exploit my body like this since my mother took such care of my frail body when I was a child. She tried to feed me with all the food known to be good for a person with poor health.

However, mother!

I don’t want you to have to see my outcry when my dearest home is forcefully taken away from me for the airport runway. And I don’t want you pass away seeing the horrible sight of being dispossessed of your lifetime beloved house- where you raised six children with great care, your house which is only 200 meters from the planned airport and is one of the homes to be moved first.

I think it would be more unfilial.

Therefore, mother, please be strong.”

A photo of Kim Kyung-bae’ s mother (from Kim’s SNS)

Finishing his 3rd fast, he can finally see his mother and baby falcon in the garden of his house back in Seongsan, before the New Year.

The MOLIT has a final chance. It should answer MOE with the SEA draft supplemented on the issues MOE demanded. The issues include noise and migratory bird sanctuaries nearby the planned area. There is no deadline for MOLIT to give answer back to MOE. And once MOLIT gives MOE answer, MOE should make a final decision. It would be (conditioned) agreement with the MOLIT SEA or disagreement with it. If the MOE answer is former, our struggle to stop the Jeju 2nd airport (air force base)would be much harder because the MOLIT would have a pretext to make public notification on the Jeju 2nd airport project, which would make legal of the project. If it is latter, the MOLIT project on the 2nd airport will be much thwarted, along with the Ministry of National Defense(NMD) greed who covets to install the Southern Search and Rescue unit (air force base) in the planned 2nd airport in Seonsan.

Kim Kyung-bae carries out a banner daily with him, “ falcons NOT fighter planes in the sky of Seongsan!”

“Falcons not the fighter planes in the sky of Seongsan”/ photo by Choi, Sung-hee

Stop the Jeju 2nd airport(air force base) project!

# Here are links of some of legally protected species Kim Kyung-bae took record himself. He could find those falcon, narrow mouth toads(known to exist 10,000, around the area), nearby his home, Seongsan, early July, this year, just days after the SEA draft of MOLIT was made public at the end of this June. The false SEA draft stipulated that there discovered no habitats of legally-protected species in the Jeju 2nd airport-planned area of Seongsan.

Please sign the petition, here.

Stop the Jeju 2nd airport(Air Force Base) Project!



(written By Choi Sung-hee/ part of text was thankfully edited by Kaia Curry)

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