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South Korean Villagers Continue Resistance to Aegis Destroyer Naval Base Construction; Mayor Arrested & Released Without Charge
Activists from Gangjeong village on JeJu Island, Korea, are struggling to prevent construction of a naval base which will damage the coral reefs and the residents' local agricultural lifestyle. The base will also be used for deployment of naval Aegis destroyers. They will be outfitted with missile defense systems to surround and provoke China, making Jeju Island a prime target for military retaliation. Sung-Hee Choi wrote:
If you saw Bruce Gagnon’s email on the final appeal about the Jeju naval base construction, about 600 people from 30 countries have currently signed to his petition.
We, Koreans gratefully thank Bruce Gagnon, and you, for your solidarity. Thank you for flooding the South Korean government with messages of solidarity to pressure them. We have received at least 50 solidarity messages from the various countries specially after the police/navy raid on Gangjeong village on Jan. 18.
Some were from the Aegis Destroyer workers and former Air force officers in the United States military. The International solidarity news covered all the main Jeju media as one of the top news, with the citation of many messages, translated in Korean.
We were happily overwhelmed by all your kindness and warm hearts. That really encouraged us, and we ask for your continued actions to help us resist the naval base construction. Now is the time to re-double our efforts. Please help us!
This petition was as Bruce Gagnon said, not only for protecting the heavenly nature of the Gangjeong, the most beautiful village in the Jeju Island and people there, but also for keeping the planet Earth from another dangerous missile defense system - more correctly called a missile offense system.
We very much appreciated your messages even though we could not answer each one. But all of them will be translated eventually into Korean and will be shared to the Koreans.
The last released Gangjeong mayor, Kang Dong Kyun, a tangerine farmer and the most devoted mayor for his villagers, said by phone, after the release from the two days’ hunger strike in the detention room, police center:
“I had felt this was such a lone struggle. But we are not lonely any more. Reading the international solidarity messages, I am very encouraged.”
Too see his remarks and the Jeju media coverage on the international solidarity news, click here.
Not only him, but the geographically isolated village people, mostly at their 50~70 years old were all so moved by your messages.
You have not only encouraged the village people, but have also reinvigorated the activists in Korea, who have been overwhelmed by the right wing government’s oppression to all sides but have also been in trauma of the Pyeongteak struggle.
The latest emerging issue is about the government oppression of people’s media coverage of the struggle against the Jeju naval base.
Please download some photos here since I am afraid when the photos will disappear again by the invisible hands.
Recently, the Jeju village people and activists have found all the photos/ videos loaded by people (not press) have been secretly removed by the invisible hands. This horrible thing happened even in the overseas site that uploaded the video on Ganjeong struggle on Jan. 18.
The more terrible thing is once the activists found the facts and were to spread the news. The videos in some sites were returned back, so assuring the fact of their communication being wiretapped. An activist was noticed from the overseas that all her email on struggle issues arrived in the spam folder. Please check your spam folder for any similar case like that.
Thanks to a Japanese friend, we became to know that such media oppression have been also done in Takae, a tiny village in Okinawa, where people are against the military base there. There even all the email exchanges on Takae were prevented.
She and others also have suggested the solidarity among the islands such as Okinawa, Guam. Hawaii and Jeju. The Islands need your support. I expect she and others will more mention about it, so I just summarize on that, for now.
I want to suggest what you can do on the Jeju.
The South Korean navy plans to have a ceremony on starting to work on the navy construction on Feb. 5.. The planned area is the east side of the Gangjeong village, where the Gangjoeng stream that has been proud of the most clean water in the Jeju Island, flows. It will be our next big struggle. For reference, the construction corporations involve Samsung, the infamous South Korean conglomerate, one of the Korea aerospace industry corporations, whose oppression against the workers and arms production such as naval combat communication system, and arms sale record have recently increasingly been shown in the media.
Seeing through all the situation, we find that this struggle will not be easy one without your continued support.
Please sign if you have not done yet and please send around Bruce Gagnon’s petition to the others around you. We have only two days for it.
Please keep sending your solidarity messages to the Gangjeong village people. Please feel how they desperately need your support.
Please watch any of media oppression here and keep pressure on the South Korean government and South Korean embassies in your country.
Please consider coming to the Jeju around Feb. 5 to empower the isolated people there.
Please spread the news.
All your solidarity activities are greatly appreciated!
Thanks so much, all of you.