ACTION ALERT: Protest Building US Airbase on Korea’s Jeju Island

December 16th, 2019 - by International Petition

Local protestors demonstrate near existing US Navy base on Jeju Island. (Photo: Sputnik International)

ACTION ALERT: Halt Construction of the Second US Air Force Base on Korea’s Jeju Island

International Petition

   Moon Jae-in, President, Republic of Korea
Kim Hyun-Mee, Minister of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport (MOLIT), Republic of Korea
   Cho Myung-rae, Minister of Environment (MOE), Republic of Korea
   Jeong Kyeong-doo, Minister of National Defense (MND), Republic of Korea
   Won Hee-ryong, Governor of Jeju Special Self-Governing Province Government, Republic of Korea

(December 2019) — We the undersigned, who respect life and love peace, sincerely request the South Korean Government and Jeju Province Government to call off the Jeju 2nd airport project.

1. Jeju, the heaven-blessed Island of the Republic of Korea, is itself a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. However, Jeju is one of five areas in the world which clearly suffers from over-tourism (BBC news, April 2018).

Lately, Jeju suffers from exhaustion of underground water, overflow of trash, and pollution of the sea. Its Islanders are threatened with the loss of their livelihoods and homes. When the annual arrival of 15 million tourists already exceeds Jeju’s environmental capacity, the idea of doubling the number of tourists per year by constructing the 2nd airport and its connection roads not only threatens the forests and oreums [volcanic craters] of Jeju but also the lives of the 670,000 Jeju Islanders.

What is necessary to Jeju is not increased development or over-tourism but to preserve the ecology and environment of Jeju. The citizens of the world have communal responsibility for protecting the Earth. We are concerned about the destruction of the ecology and environment of Jeju due to the 2nd airport.

2. Despite the denial by the MOLIT and Jeju Island government, the Jeju 2nd airport will be highly likely to be used as an air force base. Jeong Kyeong-doo, Minister of National Defense, stated this November that there could be no other candidate areas for the Air Force’s planned Southern Search and Rescue unit than the planned 2nd airport area. Given the size and length of runway which much exceed the civilian aviation demand of Jeju, it is clear that the 2nd airport would be used as an air force base.

The South Korean MND proposed the idea for a Jeju air force base in its mid-term plan in 1987, and it continuously reflected the idea in its mid-term plans since 1997. It changed the name of project from air force base to Southern Search and Rescue unit in 2006. It is just like the Jeju navy base being called the Jeju Civilian-Military Complex Beautiful Tourism Port. Additionally, it would be very likely that the Jeju navy base is connected to these plans for an air force base.

Located in a geopolitically strategic point of Northeast Asia, the militarization of Jeju and its use as part of the United States domination strategy against China threaten to make Jeju the powder keg of Northeast Asia. Needless to say, it will draw the peace of the world into crisis. When President Moon Jae-in was still a Presidential candidate in 2017, he made clear his opposition to the idea of the Southern Search and Rescue unit, like most of the other major Presidential candidates. Due to concerns regarding the militarization of Jeju, the 2nd Jeju airport should be cancelled.

3. We, as global citizens concerned with human rights and democracy, express our concern that the Jeju 2nd airport project is being enforced in an undemocratic and unilateral way, as was the Jeju navy base construction. At least 30,000 Jeju Islanders were massacred under the direction of the US Army Military Government and oppressed by its puppet South Korean government during the Jeju April 3rd uprising and massacre (March 1, 1947 – Sept. 21, 1954).

Jeju was designated as the Island of Peace in 2005 to overcome the pain of Jeju April 3rd. However, Jeju navy base construction was enforced disregarding the Islanders’ opinion and there were grave infringements of human rights and democracy. In the preparation process of the Jeju 2nd airport, worrisome situations have been found.

The residents of Seongsan, as well as other Islanders heard the idea of the 2nd airport in Seongsan only through the central government’s unilateral announcement in 2015. The ADPi (Aéroports de Paris Ingénierie) report, made available to the public only after MOLIT and Jeju Island government hid it for four years, shows that there is no need for a 2nd airport.

Won Hee-ryong, the Island governor, is refusing to make a space for public opinion-gathering despite demands for such by more than 80% of Islanders. There have been numerous protests against the Jeju 2nd airport project, such as six Jeju islanders including a resident of Seongsan who carried out long-term hunger strikes for between 16 and 42 days. We request the Moon Jae-in Government and Won Hee-ryong’s Jeju provincial government to respect the Jeju Islanders’ opinion to call off the Jeju 2nd airport.

4. Finally, we are concerned that the Jeju 2nd airport will contribute to accelerating the climate crisis which poses an immediate and urgent threat to us, and all humankind. The sea surface temperature off of Jeju Island is rising three times faster than that of the average sea surface in the world. Jeju Island is the indicator of the climate crisis for the whole Korean peninsula. We must seriously consider and stop reckless development and militarization, the main culprits of the climate crisis. Jeju is not only for Islanders.

The concerns of Jeju, one part of our Earth, concern all of us, citizens of the Earth, as well. Spiritual leaders of the world including Pope Francis, and above all the youth, our next generation, are desperately urging us to respond to the climate crisis, and stop over-development, which accelerates the climate crisis.

We strongly urge politicians in South Korea and Jeju Island not to abandon their responsibility. And we also appeal to our friends in Jeju to save the ecology of the Earth together with us. We are borrowing the Earth from our next generations. We are jointly responsible for the life and peace of the Earth.

The Story of a Man Whose Home Is in the Middle of Planned Runway and Who Is Fasting in Protest

On Dec. 11th, Kim Kyung-bae, a resident in Nansan-ri, Seongsan, Jeju, started his hunger strike in front of the government complex building in Sejong City, on the main land of Korea. He plans to carry out the fast until Dec. 19, the deadline for the Ministry of Environment (MOE) to give an answer to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport (MOLIT) regarding the Strategic Environment Impact Assessment (SEA) on the Jeju 2nd airport. Kim is demanding that MOE should totally disagree with such SEA full of lies and omissions. If the MOE gives the MOLIT a ‘conditioned agreement,’ it would be a pretext for the MOLIT to make a public notification on the Basic Plan of the Jeju 2nd airport. 

It is Kim’s 3rd time to carry out a hunger strike in opposition to the Jeju 2nd airport (air force base). He carried out a 42-days’ fast in 2017 and 38 days again last winter. The below is a translated excerpt from his Facebook post on Dec. 14th.

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?”

“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.

The Signers of the Petition (A Partial List)

Current signers who agreed for their signature to be made public (updated weekly):

Merci Angeles, Peace Women Partners, Philippines / Rose Bridger, Global Anti-Aerotropolis Movement (GAAM), UK / Annette Brownlie, Independent and Peaceful Australia Network, Australia / Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor (Emeritus) MIT, Laureate Professor U. of Arizona, USA / Felice and Jack Cohen-Joppa, the Nuclear Resister, USA / Fr. Pat Cunningham, Columban Mission Society, Korea / Bruce K Gagnon, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, USA / Dud Hendrick, Veterans for Peace, U.S. / Nadine Hoover, Friends Peace Teams’ Asia West Pacific Initiative, USA / Dr. Rebecca Johnson, Green Spokesperson on Security, Peace and Defence, England and Wales / Martha Hennessy, Catholic Worker, Kings Bay Plowshares7, USA / Kyle Kajihiro, Hawaiʻi Peace and Justice, Hawaiʻi / George Katsiaficas, Eros Effect Foundation, United States / Tarak Kauff, Veterans For Peace, U.S. / Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, United States / Nan Kim, Women Cross DMZ, USA / Ramsay Liem, Prof Emeritus, Boston College, USA / Gavan McCormack, Emeritus Professor, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia / Dr Hannah Middleton, Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition, Australia / Katherine Muzik, Ph.D., Marine Biologist, USA / Satoko Oka Norimatsu, Director, Peace Philosophy Centre, Vancouver, BC, Canada / Koohan Paik-Mander, Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, USA / Lindis Percy, Co-Founder of the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases – CAAB, England / Debbie Quinata, CHamoru Nation, Guam / Lisa Savage, Maine Natural Guard coodinator, USA / Tim Shorrock, Independent Journalist, USA / David Swanson, World BEYOND War, Executive Director, United States / Alice Slater, USA / Barry Sweeney, World BEYOND War, Ireland / TERAO Terumi, Professor Emeritus at Nagoya Institute of Technology, Japan / Vladimir Tikhonov (Pak Noja) Professor, Oslo University, Norway / Corazon Valdez-Fabros, Vice President, International Peace Bureau, Philippines / David Vine, Professor, American University, USA / David Webb, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), UK / Russell Wray, Citizens Opposing Active Sonar Threats (COAST), USA / Colonel Ann Wright, Advisory board of Veterans For Peace, USA / Angie Zelter, UK / Gar Smith, Environmentalists Against War, USA / Enrique Sánchez Ochoa, Centre Delàs of Peace Studies Officer, Spain / Jon Olsen, Green Party, USA / Roger Leisner, Radio Free Maine, USA / Jacqui Deveneau, Maine Green Party, United States / Will Griffin, Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, USA / Rosalie Paul, Greater Brunswick PeaceWorks, USA / Bernie Eisenberg, Veterans for Peace, US / Alyssa Floyd, Maine People’s Housing Coalition, Maine, USA / Polly Wynn Allen, University Lutheran Church, St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, women’s leader, elder leader, Boston, USA / Natasha Mayers, Union of Maine Visual Artists, Maine, USA / Lawrence Reichard, United States, Diana Bohn, USA / Johnathan Durso, Massachusetts, Rev. Susan Warren, USA / Margaret, United States / Sebila, Syria / Winslow Myers, USA / John Morris, United States / Lesley Grahame, UK / Elliott Adams, USA / Jacqueline Cabasso, USA / Wolf Goehring, Germany / Allen Jasson, Katherine Hawkins, United States / Judy Robbins, USA / Ginny Schneider, USA / Susan Spivack, USA / Brian Noyes Pulling, M.Div., USA / Mari Deen Anderson, Pacific Northwest, USA / Rosemary Mattingley, Australia / Sharon Fenton, USA / Marie Lynam, United Kingdom / Emma Stitt, USA / Frank Hernando, ICHRP, Philippines / Ken Jones, USA / Rosalinda, Italia / Liu, Chia-Sheng, Taiwan / prescilla tulipat, UP office of anti sexual harassment, philippines / Kaia Vereide, USA / Jessi Stitt, Ministry Director at Camp Grier, USA / LAU CHUNG KI, Hong Kong / Kenneth Ashe, Veterans for Peace, United States of America / sze ting Wong, Hong Kong / Catherine, Rev., Canada / Cynthia Heil, NC / Prabindra Shakya, Community Empowerment and Social Justice Network (CEMSOJ), Nepal / LH Au, Hong Kong / Ho Chit Ying, 大學路1001號, Hong Kong / Ng Lok Hei, Hong Kong / ann, hong kong / Malcolm J Chaddock, Individuals For Justice (individuals for justice), USA / Flora A Rogers, CA, USA / Deborah Livingston, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Tucson AZ, USA / Gary Pak, Professor, University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA / hay cheung, hong Kong / 韋艷動人, Hong Kong / judith lienhard, Oregon, USA / Mario Margani, Italy / Paul R Turner, USA / James Walsh, Arizona, USA / Andrea Schnitzer, International Strategy Center, South Korea / Carmen Mateo, Nevada County Green Party (counsel), USA / Rosabeth Koehn, USA / Matthew fernald, United States / John Spitzberg, VETERANS FOR PEACE, Alaska / Dylan Siebert, Ontario, Canada / Moinard Vincent, French entrepreneur, France / Sofia Rose Wolman, USA / Carolyn A. Hadfield, World Can’t Wait Hawaii, USA / Warren Brander, Canada / Rachel Bjork, United States / Hwayeon Lee, University of Colorado Boulder, U.S.A. / Elizabeth Cheung, UMass Lowell, USA / Norma Field, University of Chicago, Professor Emerita, USA / Sumi Hasegawa, Article 9 Canada, Canada / Grace Stitt, United States / Peter Zack, Jr., Sacope Energy & Climate Activities, USA / Angela Anderson, Artist, Germany / Mieke Lansink, Netherlands / Michiko Inoue, Canada Article 9 group, Canada / Roger Shepherd, Hike Korea 남북간 문화교류, South Korea / Karen Spicher, Peace Building School, Korea / Kagari Ando, Canada / Susmita Bastola, Nepal / Selina Cheung, Hong Kong / Lee waiyi, Writer and community artist / Tetsuro Matsuura, Japan / Siu Chui Ping, Hong Kong / Jason Verney, United Kingdom / Jae Wook Lee, Jesuit Service Cambodia, Cambodia / Nicole Erwin, United States / Susan Thorpe, USA / Noel Mackey, Ireland / Juneseo Hwang, Queen’s University Belfast, United Kingdom / masako uemae, japan / Ramon Sanders, The Netherlands / Young Lim Lee, Italy / Seung Hee Jeon, USA / Yi Jeong Ryeol, Italia / Chim Ka Yan, Social Worker, Hong Kong / Brenna Cussen Anglada, St. Isidore Catholic Worker Farm, United States / Holly G. Graham, United States / Pono Nui, Malama Aina, Hawaii / Eric Cadaughter, Tasmania, Australia / Yeonhee Kim, Graduate Student at University of Hawaii Manoa, USA, Hideko Otake, Stand with Okinawa NY, New York / anna Johansson, Sweden / Stan Levin, Veterans For Peace, USA / Jun Nakai, The society of Jesus, Japan / Mitsunobu Ichiro, Society of Jesus, Japan / Atsuhiro Katano, Mennonite Peace Missions Center, Japan / kelvin wu, Hong Kong / Hideyuki Koyama, Jesuit priest, professor of Sophia University, Japan / Yanagawa Tomoki, Jesuit Social Center, Japan / Gene Kim, USA / KAYABA Motoi, The Society of Jesus (Japan Province), Japan / Gerd Lende, Norway / Carolyn Coe, USA / Robbie Buller, USA / Bradley SMITH, U.S.A. / Lewis Patrie, M. D., M.P.H., Veterans for Peace 099, USA.

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