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Opinions and observations from environmental experts, activists, and luminaries
Famous american actor in Korea expressed the critical position on the issues of the construction of a new naval base in the Gangjung village of Jeju island. I was very impressed and amazed. Korean government and naval authority often tell a lie such as the new naval base solely will be use ROK Navy not US Navy. What do you think about this issue? Your article will be good position for the peace activitist in Jeju and Seoul, South Korea. Thank you with your solidarity and cooperation. Faithfully Sang-su Heo, Ph.D. Seoul
When did a famous actor become an expert on national security and environment? If there are liars, you people are liars. ROK Navy has not lied on this issue. Whole debacle is a mix between villagers trying to get more compensation and North Korean agent trying to undermine the national security of Korea. If you like, you can go live in North Korea or China under tyranny. You are such a moron. Who issued a Phd? A paper mill?
Thank you for your wonderful position. Many Korean appreciated because your position will be valuable for the peace activist in Jeju and Seoul, South Korea. As you are might be aware, Korean government tell a lie such as the newly constructing naval base will be solely use ROK Navy not US Navy. What do you think about this issue? Thank you again your solidarity and cooperation. Faithfully, Sangsu Heo, Ph.D. Representative of Jeju Islander abroad loving Gangjung People and Village Seoul, South Korea
Thanks for your passionate and thoughtful article on my country's the most beautiful island, Jeju. I have not seriously thought about the current issue on Jeju since I am away from Korea now, however your article and passion has made me to think and try to find a way to act on this matter. My children, who were born in U.S., visited Jeju island last summer and they talked about how beautiful the island was over and over again. Not only I want to help them to remember the beauty of Jeju when they visit the island again but also for humandkind and our beautiful planet earth. Thanks again!
Just like the previous comments, I'd like to express my appreciation to you for writing this article. Being away from my home country for so long, I was not aware of this issue until I read your article. It's absolutely foolish and tragic decision to abandon natural treasure for mere military gain. Jeju island is not just a tourist destination to Korean but it's a treasure to the world for the many reasons you explained. My heart goes to those residents in Jeju protecting it for the world.
The first photo touched my heart. Who the heck are we to destroy such beautiful and meaningful places ! Thank you for reminding us of that.
Thanks Mr. Redford for this serious article, which is bringing up the issue of Jeju Island to the world, otherwise buried in no time.
I'd like to express my gratitude. Now this time, South Korean government uses violence against residents in Jeju. Last month, police authorities arrested catholic priests and sisters raising charge against 'obstruction' of public affairs. Please, pay attention to residents and priests. Thanks again.
Thank you for your interest about my country, my hero! Because I've been your big fan, I made my English name Sundance. I hope many people in the world would get interested in Jeju because of you.
But you must consider Korea's international relationships. Korea's Southern Sea is being preied by China and Japan. So to protect Korean's territorial waters from them, this project is indispensable. You only refers to envirnment of Jeju island, but it's not that simple issue.
My wife and I went back to Jeju Island for the first time since our honeymoon sixteen years ago last December. We drove all around Jeju Island, including through much of Jeju City and Seogwipo, where Gangjeong Village and the protests against the ROK Navy base construction is reportedly taking place. Jeju Island was not the sleepy paradise I had remembered from our previous trip. My impression after 16 years was that Jeju Island was even more built up than before. We drove by numerous golf courses, businesses, horse riding ranches and other tourist venues than the last time we visited. We stayed in a five star hotel in Jeju City along the beach, which was situated on prime beach property and it was just one of many large hotels in the same area. We also drove along the ocean in Seogwipo and the scenery did not look like the photo at the top of this article--quite the opposite. Don't get me wrong. The Jeju Island coastline is strikingly beautiful, like California's Highway 1, but based on what we saw, the photo at the top of this article is misleading. And Jeju Island is much more built up than Mr. Redford or Ms. Steinem would have you believe. I think the issue is more about NIMBY than an Arms Race.
Thank you for your thoughtful comment BGF. It is worth mention that I am the one in the photo at the top of this article. The location I am sitting in IS the military base construction site - smack dab in the middle of it. This coastline is known as the Jungdeok Coast - it is a unique 1.8km long, single piece of volcanic stone. This general area is also the only location on Jeju with a pure natural spring - it is home to Jeju's famous spring water. The number one selling spring water in Korea in fact. This community is known as Gangjeong village, population 1,900. I spent six weeks there across two visits this summer. Yes, there are areas on Jeju that are quite developed with five star hotels and golf courses. For instance Jeju City is home to about a half million people. The location of this military base is a rural and picturesque farming and fishing community. It is a very humble community on an island that is internationally recognized as the island of world peace with more Unesco World Natural Heritage sites than any single geographic location on the planet Earth. The image is far from misleading - it is a snapshot of the heart of the site that will soon be home to 20 naval destroyers, two aircraft carriers, two submarines and 6,000 soldiers - if the base project is not stopped.
So what if the US Navy visits this port? What's wrong with that?
I can't see anything wrong either, except maybe crime, prostitution, destruction of a sacred coastline, marine habitat, survival of endangered species, destruction of important archelogical sites, villagers' way of life, their livelihoods, wasting of huge amounts of public funds, Jeju's status as Peace Island, worsening of relations with Koreas no.1 trading partner China, South Korea's future independence, prevention of reunification, dangerous arms race, military conflict, nuclear war.
A US aircraft carrier (such as the George Washington), an Aegis ballistic missile defense destroyer or Ohio-class submarine based in a Korean port located appx 299 miles from China's mainland (SE, in proximity to Chinese IRBM fields). How do you think that is going to play out? Especially during a time of increasing US-Chinese saber rattling? There is a thing known as a "security balance" - such a US presence will tip that delicate balance to the detriment of Korea-China relations.
Republic of Korea(R.O.K) Navy's standpoint on Robert Redford's article "The Battle for Jeju Island: How the Arms Race is Threatening a Korean Paradise" 1. The R.O.K Navy extends our regard for your interest and passion on environmental issues. However, we would like to point out that your article only cites few opponents' arguments that are far from the truth. 2. First of all, as the Republic of Korea Government already expressed to the public many times, the Jeju Naval Base is being built for the security of R.O.K and has no relations to U.S. defense policy whatsoever. 3. The Jeju Naval Base has undergone each and every legal and administrative environmental procedure including the assessment of environmental impact. In this assessment of environmental impact, related specialists and the locals participated hand in hand. Furthermore, the R.O.K Navy continues to preserve the environment with utmost interest and effort. 4. Last but not least, the Jeju Naval Base is being built as an "eco-friendly civil-military scenic port" that leads harmony with the locals. The Jeju Naval Base will be a leading model concerning any possible environmental issue.
With all due respect to the South Korean naval representative. Regarding point #2 - "The Jeju Naval Base is being built for the security of R.O.K and has no relations to U.S. defense policy." Response: The United States navy is able to use Korean ports as needed this is no secret. Yesterday Admiral Robert Willard, head of the U.S. Pacific Command, told reporters in Washington that there will be no new US bases built in Asia Pacific. Adding, "that the (US) military's goal is to have a network of places where American forces can visit on rotation." Question: Can you confirm or deny that US ships can and will use the Gangjeong naval base port during times of conflict and peace as needed? Regarding point #3 "The Jeju Naval Base has undergone each and every legal and administrative environmental procedure." Response: I suggest that the readers here look at this single example of environmental destruction. There are others. Here is an additional example of cultural destruction: Regarding point #4 "The Jeju Naval Base is being built as an 'eco-friendly civil-military scenic port' that leads harmony with the locals." Response: The local do not want the base. I suggest that readers look to this article that highlights the unethical process that forced this base on local population. There is no harmony in Gangjeong village. The article is titled "The Truth behind the vote that brought a military base to paradise" With best wishes to you.
Thank you. Jeju Gangjung your support for the struggle against the naval base here that the struggle against authority in the country is a great help to many people. Perhaps we have you, as in the 2001 film The Last Castle deserves our flag upside down may be time. We make sure that does not happen just at the naval base will win re-to the opposite. Once again would like to thank you for the support from the screen you can enjoy a nice view, try to wait for the opportunity. Thank you so much Robert.
Here are some photos of Kangjeong Naval Base.
I feel like it will fall on deaf ears, but here are a few quick reminders: 1) "culturally and ecologically unique land" a)meaning? b)evidence? c)unique? really? again, meaning? evidence... 2)"knowing that oxygen tanks could cause them to over-harvest" LOL...seriously, you didn't feel guilty or embarrassed writing such a ridiculous statement? 3)"As a result, hundreds of acres of fertile farmland have already been bulldozed to prepare for concrete" LOL...yes, only there. The rest of the island is an unspoiled paradise....haha 4)"Jeju isn't just any island. It has just been selected as one of the “Seven Wonders of Nature” for its breathtaking beauty, unique traditions and sacred groves" a)Nope, it was selected almost exclusively by Koreans (much to the thanks of a massive govt. campaign and the ever-present Korean nationalism) for being, well, Korean. b)This contest (sic) has universally been mocked from the four corners of the planet. c)'breathtaking beauty"...haha...Jeju-Shi is home to most of the island and it is an absolute dump. The only part of the island even shown (the grassy Seongsan Ilchulbong) is literally capped on its land-side with yet another slum ridden Korean town. Try to find a photo that pans out from the grassy peak. The mountain in the interior has been closed more than it has been open over the past 20 years because it consistently is too full of garbage. The military does garbage sweeps frequently in order to try and restore it, but always comes up short. Labelling the entire island anything related to beautiful and natural is laughable. 5)" Indo-Pacific bottle-nosed dolphins spawn there " I don't know much about this, but I do know that before a 2011 investigation paid for by a Jeju organization there were no indications from anyone in Korea that suggested the Indo-Pacific dolphins could be found around Jeju (though I do know Korea likes to take captured ones and put them on display in water parks). Now, not only are they there, they apparently spawn there. Interesting. I'd like to see more evidence on this. 6)"Of the world's 66 UNESCO Global Geoparks, nine are on Jeju Island" What is with the obsession with UNESCO? How about more research on UNESCO before using it as the de facto authority on beauty. P.S. and incidentally- UNESCO, for what it is worth, decided not to pursue the development of a Global Geoparks programme. It currently is only a voluntary label designated by any country that wishes to do so (use the label). In other words, if Korea wants to they could call all of Korea a Geopark. (This is just too easy) 7) ...nah, I'm done...getting boring and repetitive....
This is a great article. Thank you so much Mr. Redford for your genuine interest and solidarity on this issue. I was born and raised in Jeju. I wanna shout out this loud. PLEASE LEAVE JEJU ALONE! I don't want any more destruction on Jeju's nature under the name of 'national security' or economic developement. What our children really need is well-preserved nature, healthy society and sustainable peace. The R.O.K goverment and the Navy have been lieing about the Naval base. They said they are going to build the base for dual use purpose, not only for a military use but also for tourism. But it's not true. (and what an absurd idea to have such a dual use port!) It was and still is mere a bait. Recently the ministry of national defense has acknowledged that there were errors in the constuction layout for the base. And the government has cut 96% of the 2012 base-budget. But the construction is still going more aggessively than ever while the police is protecting the navy and Samsung & Daerim (the construction companies). Please, readers! listen to the voice of the people who suffer, not to the voice of the power!
Thank you so much for joining in on the cause! This is such an amazingly important issue effecting all of us as tenants of this earth. Recently visited this amazing island where the people were proud of the beauty of their island and were willing to die to keep it that way. Fighting!!!
Haven't we done enough harm to our planet. The military industrial complex has already destroyed and made inhabitable other islands !! When are we going to learn. I could cry and just shout like the indigenous people who tried to protect their lands all over this globe. Maybe 12/20/12 will be the end of planet Earth unless we act now!! I'll spread the word but it's never enough!