JEJU ISLAND, South Korea — Demonstrators are rallying to fend off the destruction of a 400-year old fishing and farming village and a fragile marine ecoystem on a UNESCO World Heritage Site to make way for U.S. Navy Aegis missile destroyers.
Environment News Service reported that the site of the South Korean military base to be constructed has the cleanest water on Jeju Island (Cheju-Do) and the world’s finest lava tube cave system. Dregding for destroyer draft-depth would destroy endangered soft-coral reefs offshore.
The Pentagon would likely term the location “strategic.” You probably are aware of U.S. manufacturing interests in South Korea. While it is only about the size of the state of Indiana, South Korea is also the fifth-largest importer of American agricultural products.
Ironically enough, Jeju was dubbed the “Peace Island” by the Korean government in January 2005, to mark events beginning in 1948 when residents boycotted the Seoul election in protest of what they saw, with no small degree of foresight, as a long-term division of the Korean nation.
These islanders were labeled as “communists” and suppressed by local police and national military forces allegedly backed by the U.S. government. The forces burned numerous villages and slaughtered civilians throughout the Korean conflict.
The island will host the world’s largest environmental event in September. The 10-day World Conservation Congress of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN is exptected to attract some 15,000 environmental specialists, scientists, students, and locals.
The island is also sometimes referred to as, “The Island of the Gods,” and is a tourist destination and honeymoon site.