The below is the translation of the Hanktoreh Editorial on April 27, 2011.
Hankyoreh Editorial: Naval base construction and human courtesy toward the Jeju Island people
The April of the Gangjeong village, Jeju, is in war again. The state power restrains and detains the villagers while throws the bombshells of tens of millions fine onto them. It divides the villagers with bribes and pacifications and leads them into clashes beyond conflicts. It is told that the percentage of the villagers who say that they want to die rather than to see such scenes has reached to about 40%. The reason that the memory of 4.3, 63 years ago, when [the state] has indiscriminately massacred the innocent people, is resurrecting is because of that.
The root of evil is because of the naval base construction that has been interspersed with expedient methods and repressions. About 40 villagers have become the suspected during the process from the manipulation of the village meeting’s opinion decision by bribe [in the beginning] and coercive construction progress [since then]. It amounts about 50million won of only with the fines that have levied to those. It is told that the families and relatives clash because of the compensation issue on the rights & interests and about 70 village social gatherings have been mostly broken. The reason that the five opposition parties have extraordinarily demanded the temporary construction stop and appealed for the forming of the truth investigation committee in the National Assembly level the other day is because of that. They have urgently demanded the cooperation by the naval base business committee and police by visiting those.
In fact, there are many reasons for the construction to be stopped. First of all, it is on the matter of the legality on the alteration of location. The Gangjeong village is the core area of the UNESCO designated biosphere protection area and the Jeju Island has been designating it as [one of] the absolute preservation areas. The Jeju Island council lead by the [conservative] Grand National Party has processed the resolution bill on the cancellation of the designation while blocking the entry by the opposition parties in last December, 2009. The [newly launched] Island Council has made a reversing resolution of it by annulling the cancellation last March. The location element itself has become shaken. The 2nd review lawsuit on the confirmation on the annulment on the alteration disposal, related to that is currently in process.
We hope the construction is immediately stopped. The National Assembly should count in detail the questioned points and fully hear the villagers’ opinions by composing its truth investigation committee not disregarding [the Island] as a remote region. To thrust the Jeju Island into disputes and conflicts again is not the courtesy toward the villagers who have lived bearing the worst pain in the modern history of Korea.