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INT’L PEACE GROUP TO HOLD MEETING ON JEJU ISLAND, SOUTH KOREA: WILL SUPPORT VILLAGERS' FIGHT AGAINST CONTROVERSIAL NAVY BASE


The Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space will hold its 20th annual space organizing conference in Gangjeong village on Jeju Island in South Korea from February 24-26.  The group is made up of 150 peace groups around the world who are working to oppose the development of a new arms race in space.  The theme for the conferencewill be Jeju for Island of Peace.

The South Korean Navy is building a base just 300-miles from the Chinese mainland.  The base will become a port for U.S. Navy Aegis destroyers outfitted with “missile defense” systems that are key elements in Pentagon first-strike attack planning.  The 400-year old Gangjeong fishing and farming village on Jeju Island is being destroyed to build the base.  Endangered soft-coral reefs offshore will also be destroyed when the seabed is dredged to make it possible to bring U.S. warships into the port.

Activists will come to Jeju Island from as far away as India, England, Sweden, U.S., Japan, Taiwan, and from throughout South Korea.  Of particular interest this year will be discussions about the Obama administration’s “pivot” of U.S. foreign and military policy toward the Asia-Pacific region and its controversial “missile defense” deployments that are now being used to surround Russia and China. 

Global Network Coordinator Bruce Gagnon stated, “When I, and other Global Network members, called the South Korean embassy in Washington DC to express support for the Gangjeong villagers fighting to save their way of life we were told, ‘Don’t call us.  Call your own government.  They are forcing us to build this base.’  It is clear that the current doubling of U.S. military operations in the Asia-Pacific region is going to have severe implications for people who live there and for world peace.”

Dave Webb, National Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in the UK said, “The people of Gangjeong village on Jeju Island have been living under a dark cloud of military invasion for some years now. The threat is not coming from some ancient enemy but from their own government, influenced and encouraged by the U.S. military. Like millions of people around the world they have found themselves on the front line of the struggle against empire, greed and militarism. It is so important that their courage and resistance is recognized and supported. We are meeting on Jeju Island in order to do just that.”   Webb also serves as the chair the Global Network.

Each year the Global Network holds its space organizing conference in a different part of the world.  Several Global Network leaders will stop in Hawaii for a series of public meetings (Feb 18-22) before heading to South Korea.  The Aegis warships test their “missile defense” systems at the Pacific Missile Range Facility located on Kauai, Hawaii. 

Full conference details are available at the Global Network’s website http://www.space4peace.org/actions/gnconf_2012.htm

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