By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
International League of Peoples’ Struggle
10 September 2011
We, the International League of Peoples’ Struggle, join all other concerned forces of the people of the world in supporting the struggle of the Korean people, particularly the residents of Gangjeong, against the construction of the naval base on Jeju island. We demand that the construction be stopped.
The voice of the people on Jeju island must be heeded. They have voted against the base and availed of every possible democratic means to oppose the construction of the naval. The South Korean government is reprehensible for being adamant in building the base as a US missile site in accordance with the US-designed provocative strategy to encircle China.
Such a base will not improve the Korean peoples’ security but will further destabilize the Asia-Pacific region and make the island a prime target for military retaliation. The Jeju people can never forget the April 3, 1948 massacre of 80,000 civilians on the island as a result of militarization.
They want the South Korean government to adhere to its own apology for the massacre and to respect the designation of the island as an Island of Peace. We condemn the violence that has been used on a peace activist who tried to prevent a construction vessel from pouring concrete onto the coral reefs. We are also concerned about the health and safety of several more peace activists who have been imprisoned because of their hunger strike and other nonviolent protests.
Jeju island is home to three designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is a shame that its extraordinary beauty and pristine environment , including the soft coral habitant and rich marine life, are ruined by dredging the Jeju coastline just to accommodate U.S. Aegis destroyer warships, the South Korean Navy and Samsung Corporation.
The construction of the naval base is bound to destroy the livelihood of the people who depend on diving for seafood and kelp, key staples of the Korean diet. The lands are also being confiscated, the greenhouses demolished and fruit trees uprooted. The people are being made to suffer all for the sake of a naval base cum US missile site that is a provocation or invitation to an annihilative attack.
We firmly stand in solidarity with the people of Jeju in their just struggle to to protect not only their own community, their way of life and environment but also to promote the cause of peace in a region that is being increasingly militarized by the US, Japan and South Korea. We calll on all our member-organizations and allies to support the people of Jeju and to add strength to the demand for stopping the construction of the naval base. ####