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We appeal to you to Join an International Action Week For No Naval Base, 2-9 September 2012


We appeal to the people of the world who are opposing warfare and are concerned with making the world peaceful and sustainable community.

Please take part in an International Solidarity Action (2-9 September 2012) during the World Conservation Congress 2012 which will be held in Jeju Island.

The 2012 World Conservation Congress, which is an environmental conference held every 4 years by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), is to take place from 6-15 September in Seogwipo city, Jeju Island. Jeju Island is located in the southern part of South Korea, adjacent to China, Taiwan, and Japan.

However, in Gangjeong village, which is only 7 km far from the congress site, construction to build a massive naval base is being enforced. The total size of the naval base is 490,000 square meters and it will not only harm the environment but also ignite military tensions despite the opposition of a great number of villagers.

Gangjeong village in Jeju blessed with a natural environment should be preserved for the future of mankind.

Gangjeong village is a coastal town with a sacred environment and high value preservation not only in Jeju Island, but also in the world.

The Sea of Gangjeong village is designated as a national cultural treasure (natural memorial No. 442) by the Korean Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea and is adjacent to Beom Island, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Gangjeong village is God’s blessing natural heritage. The sea of Gangjeong is one of the major habitats of the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins, one of the species listed by the IUCN. It is estimated that there are only 114 Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins in Korea.

Gangjeong village is located between the two biggest creeks in Jeju Island and has the biggest freshwater fish habitat on the island. It provides 70–80% of drinking water to southern residents in the island. As Jeju Island lacks water due to its porous basaltic land, this uncommon village is nicknamed as ‘Il-Gangjeong’ which means the best Gangjeong village. Due to this character, it has been the ‘heartland of agriculture’ from ancient times. Artifacts from prehistoric times showing the transformation of housing culture have been also discovered in Gangjeong. For such reasons, Gangjeong was appointed as a limited development district until the Jeju naval base construction plan was drafted.

Gureombi rock, located at the Jeju naval base construction site, is a broad flat rock with 1.2 km in length and 250m in width and it forms a greatly peculiar bedrock wetland where spring water comes upward. As Gureombi rock is a part of absolute preservation area by Jeju local government, it is home to the Government designated endangered species such as sesarma intermedium, small round frogs, Jeju saebaengi (native freshwater shrimp of Jeju Island), and clithon retropietus v. martens.

However, the Government is unilaterally enforcing the construction of the naval base without appropriate evaluation and even by easing regulations expediently or ignoring them illegally. It is clear that the naval base will not only destroy the environment of the sea of Gangjeong village, but also cause the serious destruction of the environment of UNESCO Biosphere Reserve located just 2 km away from the construction site.

There is no doubt that this construction is entirely contrary to the principals of the World Conservation Congress. The efforts of the South Korean government and Jeju local government to promote Jeju island as a world environmental city, while unilaterally enforcing the construction of the naval base, is deceiving global citizens.

Actions Suggested

1. Please choose at least one day during the International Action Week (2-9 September 2012) and organize any individual or collective actions to oppose the Jeju naval base.

2. Please inform the world that the construction of the naval base in Jeju is fully contrary to the principal of 2012 World Conservation Congress. Please make calls to the World Conservation Congress member organizations and member states to express concerns about the Jeju naval base construction.

3. Please ask the South Korean government and Jeju local government to stop building the military base, revoke the naval base project, and make Jeju Island develop intact as an island of world peace.

4. It is hypocritical for Samsung, the main contractor of the naval base project, to support financially the largest environmental event in the world. Please urge Samsung C&T and Daerim, two main contractors, to stop constructing naval base in Jeju.

5. To spread this amazing event widely, please send your endorsement (with your organization’s name) and your action plans to the Gangjeong international team (gangjeongintl@gmail.com ) in advance. After your actions, please kindly send your photos and videos with a simple explanation to the team as well.

6. There are many events being planned in Jeju Gangjeong village during the international action week (2-9 September 2012). If possible, please come to the village and be part of our nonviolent struggle which has continued over the last 6 years.

We greatly appreciate for your solidarity.

 

The following groups endorse the action:

National Groups

  • Gangjeong Village Association
  • Jeju Pan-Island Committee for Stop of Military Base and for Realization of Peace Island (26 organizations)
  • Korea Environment NGO Network (36 Korean environmental NGOs) 
  • National Network of Korean Civil Society for Opposing to the Naval Base in Jeju Island (125 Korean civil society organizations)

International Groups

Please send your endorsement (organization’s name) and send it to gangjeongintl@gmail.com . We will collect all international groups’ endorsement and list your names here.

 

Background

Jeju Island should remain an Island of World Peace, not an outpost of war

In 2005, the South Korean Government declared Jeju Island an Island of World Peace. At that time, the Government explained that the purpose was to succeed the spirit of historical summits for diplomacy during the post-Cold war era – the previous chief secretary of the Soviet union, Gorbachev’s visit in Jeju island (1991), the establishment of diplomatic relations between South Korea and Russia (1991), the establishment of diplomatic relations between South Korea and China (1992) and afterward the first visit of Jiang Zemin, the previous chief secretary of the People’s Republic of China, to Jeju island (1995), and cabinet-level talks between North and South Korea--and to contribute to world peace. Furthermore, in the Declaration for the Island of World Peace, two proposals were included. The first was to inherit the three traditions of Jeju Island (no beggar, no thief, and no gate) and the second was to recognize the tragic historical 4.3 massacre, which more than one-eighth of Jeju islanders were massacred in the name of red-hunting.

However, the current naval base construction enforced by the South Korean Government to militarize Jeju and the East China Sea in the name of naval security plays a part to threaten peace and prosperity in the areas. Over the last few years the South Korean government and its Navy have called themselves sub-partners of the Northeast Naval Strategy led by the US administration and strengthened the military cooperation among South Korea, the US, and Japan. The naval base in Jeju will function as an outpost of this plan. In this naval base, US nuclear-powered submarine, nuclear aircraft carrier as well as Aegis missile-carrying warships may berth.

The reason to name Jeju Island as an Island of World Peace is to make the island a hub of exchange and cooperation in Northeast Asia and convert the East China Sea into sea of peace and co-existence. The construction of the naval base is fundamentally contrary to these visions. Thus, it is crucial to protect the island from becoming an outpost of warfare. Jeju Island should be developed as a world peace island.

For more information, please visit:

http://savejejunow.org/

http://www.savejeju.org/  

https://www.facebook.com/groups/nonavalbase/

https://www.facebook.com/SaveJeju

http://cafe.daum.net/peacekj  (Korean/ English/ Chinese/ Japanese)

 

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