Struggle to Protect Jeju Island from Monstrous Naval Base Intensifies

There has been an intense amount of activity in the struggle to protect Jeju island from destruction due to the building of a naval base in Gangjeong.   The Save Jeju Facebook page is a great source of news with many photos and as-it-happens reports of protests at the site of the naval base.

John Feffer wrote a travel article about visiting Jeju in the Washington Post “South Korea’s Jeju Island, paradise with a dark side”(April 20, 2012) which included a significant amount of information about the anti-base struggle there.

The Los Angeles Times published “In South Korea, a small island town takes on the navy” (May 6, 2012).

Ann Wright also wrote a piece for Op Ed News “64 years later, in Second Massacre on Jeju Island, South Korea: US Missile Defense System Destroys a World Heritage Site” (April 4, 2012).

And an international solidarity team produced an English language newsletter that reports on the deportation of several international supporters from Korea and the denial of entry to a delegation from Veterans for Peace.

One of the issues has been South Korean politicians using Hawai’i as an example of the successful marriage between tourism and the military.  A leading conservative politician has repeatedly made the comparision.  Jeju activists asked us to address her claims. Here’s an email sent by Korean activist Sung Hee Choi on May 1, 2012, which contains my letter to the editor rebutting the claims:

“I would invite Ms. Park to take a swim in Hawai’i’s most famous military-tourist attraction: Pearl Harbor (the true name given by Native Hawaiians is Ke Awalau o Pu’uloa). However, the water is too toxic. And before she could get very far, she would be arrested by the Navy for trespassing in military waters. There is no tourist activity within Pearl Harbor except for those museum sites controlled by the government.” (Kyle Kajihiro)

On May 1, Labor Day, Park Geun-Hye, daughter of deceased ex-President Park Chung-Hee who ruled South Korea for decades with military dictatorship made absurd remarks that, “In case of Hawai’i, tourism income is 24% while military-related income is 20% in its whole finance,” and “If we construct the Jeju naval base as civilian-military dual use port and make it well so that 150,000 ton cruise can enter and exit, it would not likely to be less than Hawai’i” (Headline Jeju, May 1).  On March 30 before General election, Park, supporting the candidates of the Saenuri Party (the ruling conservative Party)-though none were elected in the Jeju Island furious on naval base, has said, “We should make Jeju like Hawai’I famous for global tourism site and naval base.” It was a happening that reminded absurd remark by Kim Tae-Yong, ex-Minister of National Defense on March 20, 2010.  Amidst raining all day, Gangjeong villagers and activists protested against her spreading absurd remarks of so called civilian-military dual use port, from morning to afternoon.  Kyle Kajihiro has sent a below writing refuting her remarks on April 25. Kyle Kajihiro is the program director for the American Friends Service Committee in Hawaii. He works on demilitarization, environmental justice, and Kanaka Maoli human rights issues. He has been involved in immigrant worker organizing, community mural projects, antiracist/antifascist activism, the Central America Solidarity movement, Hawaiian sovereignty solidarity efforts, and community radio and television. He has visited the Jeju and has many times expressed his solidarity on Jeju. Please refer to DMZ Hawai’i / Aloha ‘Aina (

Protest letter to Park Geun-Hye

The Military Impacts in Hawai’i should be a Warning to Koreans about the threat to Jeju island.

By Kyle Kajihiro

April 25, 2012

Ms. Park Keun-Hye is gravely mistaken to claim that military bases have been good for Hawai’i and therefore would be good for Jeju. The U.S. invaded and occupied the sovereign country of Hawai’i in order to build a military outpost. This included the taking of more than 200,000 acres of land for military bases, training and other activities. The result has been the destruction of the environment with more than 900 military contamination sites identified by the Department of Defense. The military’s toxic cocktail includes PCB, perchloroethylene, jet fuel and diesel, mercury, lead, radioactive Cobalt 60, unexploded ordance, perchlorate, and depleted uranium.

When the U.S. took over, especially during WWII, the military seized thousands of acres of Hawaiian land. Whole communities were evicted, their homes, churches and buildings razed or bombed for target practice, their sacred sites destroyed by bombs or imprisoned behind barbed wire.

Recently, hundreds of landless Native Hawaiian families were evicted from a secluded area of O’ahu where they had been living in cars and makeshift tents. They are the internally displaced native people, evidence of the so-called ‘benefits’ of militarization. Meanwhile the military occupies more than 13,000 acres of Hawaiian land, comprising a third of the land in that part of the island.

The enormous military presence did not bring security. On the contrary, it made Hawai’i the prime target during WWII and the Cold War. Militarization imported the most virulent forms of racism and martial law to the islands and provided the U.S. a launching pad from which to expand its empire. The military interests of the U.S. continue to override the needs and security of local communities as it distorts our development in ways that serve empire.

I would invite Ms. Park to take a swim in Hawai’i’s most famous military-tourist attraction: Pearl Harbor (the true name given by Native Hawaiians is Ke Awalau o Pu’uloa). However, the water is too toxic. And before she could get very far, she would be arrested by the Navy for trespassing in military waters. There is no tourist activity within Pearl Harbor except for those museum sites controlled by the government.

Ke Awalau o Pu’uloa is a perfect example of the dangers of militarization. The U.S. invaded and occupied the Kingdom of Hawai’i in order to take Ke Awalau o Pu’uloa as a strategic port. What was once one of the most productive fisheries for Native Hawaiian people with extensive wetland agriculture and aquaculture complexes that fed many thousands on O’ahu island has become a giant toxic Superfund site. Today there are approximately 749 contaminated sites that the Navy has identified within the Pearl Harbor Naval Complex. The seafood from Ke Awalau o Pu’uloa is no longer safe to eat. The famous pearl oysters are no more.

It is partially true that the military has become a major economic source in Hawai’i, but at a very high price. The military economy is artificial. It is largely a result of the corrupt processes of the military-industrial-political complex that injects money for pet projects in the islands like a drug. Politicians, businesses, and even unions become addicted to the quick high of these federal infusions and then become desperate to chase the next fix, even at the expense of the environment, Hawaiian rights and sovereignty and peace in the Asia-Pacific region. Meanwhile the real source of Hawai’i’s economy – the beauty and health of our natural environment and our cultural richness – deteriorates at an alarming rate.

The questions that we must always ask about the alleged economic benefits of the military in Hawai’i are: “Who gets paid? Who pays the price? What are the real social, cultural and environmental costs of such a dependent economy?” The native people of the land are the ones whose lands are always stolen and destroyed by the military. They and other poor groups live in the toxic shadow of the bases. Other productive capacities wither away as Hawai’i has grown completely dependent on imports (90% of food is imported) and federal spending. Meanwhile those who benefit most from the military economy are the contractors (many who flock to Hawai’i when new military funds are approved) who feed on the destruction wrought by all this so-called ‘prosperity’.

Jeju island is a unique cultural and natural treasure that must be protected from military expansion. The beautiful islands of the Pacific are being targeted because the governments think we are small and insignificant. But islands do not have to be isolated. As the peoples of the Pacific have known for centuries, Ka Moananuiakea (the great ocean) unites us, brings us life, culture, food and solidarity. We must join our efforts and broaden our solidarity beyond our local shores, we can weave a net that is big and strong enough to restrain those monstrous fish that threaten to devour us all.

박근혜 “해군기지로 제주발전 재도약 뒷받침할 것”
해군기지 업무보고…”70년대 감귤이면, 지금은 해군기지가 성장동력”
제주도 “15만톤급 크루즈 안전성 꼭 필요”…박 “좋은 결론 나왔으면”
2012.05.01 14:43:44
[사진]짧은 거리 경호원이 우산 펴자, 박근혜 위원장 손 저으며…
2012.05.01 13:24:46
박근혜 위원장, “제주해군기지 업무보고 받겠다”
오후 1시 제주도청서 민군복합형 관광미항 업무보고 받기로
제주항 터미널 현장투어…노인복지시설 현장 방문 후 이도
2012.05.01 09:44:34
박근혜 “제주, 해군기지로 ‘동양의 하와이’ 만들어야”
“민간인 사찰, 지위고하 막론하고 철저히 수사해야”

Several days later, Sung Hee posted news reports that the proposed mixed civilian-military use of the Jeju port was just a ruse; the Korean Navy had plans all along for the port to be an exclusive military port:
[May 3~7] It is a military-exclusive not civilian-military port. As the fakeness of dual use port was confirmed, People will have an emergency protest on May 7.

People will have emergency protest in front of the Island government hall in the morning of May 7, to demand Island governor Woo Keun-Min’s special decision to stop construction (destruction) and to revoke the project on the Jeju naval base which is so-called, “Beautiful Tourism Port for Mixed Civilian-Military Use.’

It is because it was confirmed that the Ministry of National Defense (MND) has secretly promoted military-exclusive port by making a prior legislation notice on the revision of bill on the enforcement of ordinance on harbor and bay law on April 26, even without informing to public. The notice was informed only by a Headline Jeju article on May 5 and 6, 2012.

According to a Headline Jeju on May 6, the item 2 of article 8, enforcement of ordinance, that is newly established reads:

‘Regarding the entry permission in the Beautiful Tourism Port for Mixed Civilian-Military Use among the zones applicable to each item […] of article 9 or military base and facilities […], the JURISDICTION UNIT COMMANDER should acquire the license on the ‘cruise passenger transportation business,’ or complex maritime passenger traffic business according to the maritime traffic law and guarantee maximum of port entry by the ships designated by him, among the approved and registered ships for the purpose of cruise business, following the ‘tourism promotion law.’

The most furious thing is that it is to take double-designation of water area of so called dual use port as both trade port and military protection zone-which means the cruise entry and exit of port would be under military control in reality.

Second, as seen in item 2 of article 8, the MND has no will to hand over the right to official regulations, [regarding cruise] to the MLTM (Jeju Island)

Third, there is no mention on commercial ships but only cruise, bringing confirmation that it would be a trade port only by name.

It is the violation of MOU (* which is dual itself) between the 3 parties of MND. MLTM, and Jeju Island on April 27, 2009, of which primary purpose was for the entry and exit of two 150,000 ton cruises. It is also violation of the recommendation item of sub-committee of Budget and Balance committee of National Assembly last October, which was of independent rights to official regulation for cruise by the MLTM (Jeju island) and for military vessels for NMD respectively.

(# MLTM: Ministry of Land, Transportation and Maritime Affairs)

The headline Jeju May 5 article reported navy’s press release which has not been informed to the public yet. The MND (navy) whole statement titled, “Position related to the establishment on the military facility protection zone on the water area of the Jeju civilian-military complex port,” is like the below:

– Even though some media on the date of May 4, Fri. (* reported in Jeju media on May 3), 2012, has reported that, if water area is designated as a trade port, breakwater, inner port area, and navigation route related to cruise entry and exit of port would be excluded from the military facility protection zone, it is different from the facts.”

– To guarantee cruise’s entry and exit of Jeju civilian-military complex port, the MND has made a prior legislation notice on the revision of bill on the enforcement of ordinance on military base and facility protection law on April 26 and the Ministry of Land, Transportation and Maritime Affairs (MLTM) has made a prior legislation notice on the revision of bill on the enforcement of ordinance on harbor and bay law as of May 4, in which the content is to designate the cruise related area as a trade port system.

– “If related procedure (procedure on the revision of enforcement of ordinance) is finished, the water area of Jeju civilian-military complex harbor would be DOUBLY designated as military protection zone and trade port kind so that the capacities as operation base that can accommodate maneuvering flotilla and as entry -exit port of cruise can be guaranteed.”

-The MND(navy) is in process of negotiation with related institutes to conclude a protocol on common use to effectively operate the Jeju Beautiful Tourism Port for Mixed Civilian-Military Use.”

The sub-committee of the National Assembly has recommended through synthetic opinion of its report last October, that “The MLTM revise the ‘enforcement of ordinance on harbor and bay,’ by this June and change the ‘harbor and bay basic plan,’ so that the cruse harbor and bay water area and its facilities can be designated as a ‘trade port.’

It also ordered that “The MND(navy) revise the enforcement of ordinance on military base and facility protection law by this June and the MND, MTLM, and Jeju Special Self-Governing Island promote the conclusion of ‘common use on the civilian-military harbor and bay,’ by June so that they can wipe out concerns that the base would be operated centered on military vessels.

Following it, it recommended that “Regarding the right to official regulations on harbor and bay, they finish the consultation by June so that the MLTM (Jeju Island) has it on cruise while the MND(navy) on military vessels, while regarding maintenance and repairing costs, the three conclude a protocol by June.”
Image source:

Proposal on the establishment of maritime zone in the Gangjeong section of the Seogwipo port

Source: Ministry of Land, Transportation and Maritime Affairs and Headline Jeju


또 ‘뒤통수’?…국방부 입법예고, 왜 쉬쉬 했나
[데스크논단] 몰래 이뤄진 국방부 군사보호법 시행령 입법예고
‘군사보호구역’ 중복 지정, 무늬만 ‘무역항’?…관제권은 부대장이?
2012.05.07 00:12:19
제주해군기지 ‘무역항’, ‘군사보호구역’ 중복 지정
군사시설보호법 시행령 입법예고…”경계 긋지않고 중복지정”
“무역항 지정되더라도 군사보호구역 제외 안돼”…작전 중에는?
2012.05.05 17:22:26
“강정해군기지 무역항 지정 시행령 개정은 위법행위”
강정마을회, 국토부 시행령 개정입법예고에 반박
2012.05.04 09:45:42
정부, 제주해군기지 강정수역 ‘무역항’ 지정
국토부, 항만법 시행령 입법예고…”서귀포항 구역 확대 지정”
군사시설보호법 개정 등 ‘군항과 민항’ 항만공동사용 협정 추진
2012.05.03 11:25:27


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