Monday, August 15, 2011

Christian Conference in Asia (CCA) call for worldwide ecumenical solidarity, advocacy, & prayer for Jeju Island

(Thursday mass for peace for Jeju Island)



On June 15, 2011, in response to Christian Council of Asia (CCA) information about a Consultation to be entitled ‘Peace and Security in Asia: Ecumenical Response’ and held in conjunction with the CCA Area Committee on Justice, International Affairs, and Development (JID) meeting in Bangkok, August 1-6, the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) requested consideration of a solidarity visit to be made from CCA to Jeju Island.

The main focus of the solidarity visit was to witness the ongoing resistance of residents of Kangjeong village at the southern tip of Jeju Island to the construction of a Korea-United States Naval Base in the area and to understand the concerns about this construction with the aim of strengthening the international support to the resistance.

The CCA received the invitation with interest, set the date for Aug. 8-10 and determined their delegation as:

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary, National Council of Churches in India
Rev. Dr. Alistair Macrae, President of National Assembly, Uniting Church in Australia
Mr. Carlos Ocampo, CCA Executive Secretary, Justice, International Affairs, Development & Service

The delegation was accompanied by NCCK representatives:

Rev. Lee Hun Sam, Executive Secretary of the NCCK Justice and Peace Dept
Rev. Shin Seung Min, Ecumenical Officer of PROK (Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea)
Rev. Shin Bog Hyun, Methodist Church Ecumenical Officer
Rev. Catherine Christie, Ecumenical co-worker with PROK and NCCK

During the visit the delegation visited Gangjeong Village, participated in worship with the community, saw first hand a confrontation between villagers and the police, met with Christian leaders, visited the 4.3 Peace Park and Memorial and participated in a community Candlelight Vigil.

During the visit we identified the following concerns:

1. Militarization.

The proposed Jeju Island base would constitute an additional military base outside the mainland of the Korean Peninsula. Jeju, like Okinawa, will represent an expansion of the geopolitical influence and military control of the USA, countering China's growing economic and military influence in north-east Asia. The new Aegis fleet being prepared will add to the arms race taking place in this region. Jeju Island will potentially become a target of military attacks from contending powers in the region.

The violent history of Jeju Island, within living memory makes this particularly poignant. At the 4.3 Museum we saw evidence of massacres and scorched earth policies that led to the 2005 designation of Jeju as the Island of Peace as a gesture of apology for the events of 1948-54.

2. Destruction of environment and community.

Gangjeong is a farming and fishing village and the naval base will destroy the livelihood of the farmers and fisherfolk of the area. Residents will be dislocated and social problems will emerge. The marine environment will be severely impacted. In Jeju there are rare plants, animals, corals which led to the designation of Jeju as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. These treasures will be threatened, possibly lost.

We heard that environmental scientists claim that no credible environmental impact studies have been conducted. There is clearly a need for such study and a need for the results to be available for scrutiny.

We also see an urgent need for a comprehensive social impact study.

3. Concerns about Government policy, processes and Police presence.

We heard reports that among the villagers more than 90% are opposed to the Base. Authorities claim a mandate on the basis of a meeting with a small non representative group at which only 80 of the 1,800 villagers were present. In a democratic nation, a proper consultative process must be followed in any major decision like this one.

We observed an overwhelming police presence. We are concerned about the intimidating nature of this presence. We are also concerned about cases of arrest and fines. We read an article saying "about 15 villagers have been charged with obstruction of official business and 3 are in jail. 14 villagers have been sued for 290 million won in damages". We met people currently facing such charges.

4. We from CCA come from countries which have experienced similar situations through the establishment of military bases, mining projects and other transnational projects where local people have suffered a loss of sovereignty, disempowerment in relation to use of their land and their ability to make decisions affecting their lives (e.g. POSCO development in Orissa, India).


In light of the aforementioned observations we call upon:

1. The South Korean Government to stop construction of the base.

2. The US and other governments to support peace in northeast Asia and promote human rights and security in the Korean Peninsula; and to protect the environment and seek alternative models of wholistic development.

3. Churches and NGO's to pray with Korean people, to offer advocacy and solidarity support in terms of this issue.


We heard the cries and pain of the people in the village. We are encouraged by the passion and courage of the people to resist outside forces of destruction.

We are encouraged to witness the increasing awareness and solidarity support throughout Korea and the international community.

As Christians we believe that God the Creator calls human beings to be stewards of creation, carers of God's garden, not destroyers.

We believe that God's will is for peace in the world based on justice, and that we should pursue paths that lead to peace between peoples rather than relying on militarization for security.

We believe that God intends that communities, as far as possible, have power and influence over the direction of their lives.

We therefore commit ourselves to working for a just peace. <제주투데이>

<강정태 기자 / 저작권자ⓒ제주투데이/ 무단전재 및 재배포금지>


아시아교회협의회 "제주해군기지 건설 중단해야"
2011년 08월 11일 (목)
강정태 기자

아시아교회협의회(CCA) 대표단이 제주해군기지 건설 중단을 요구했다.

아시아교회협의회는 11일 성명을 내고 "제주해군기지는 한반도 이외의 섬에 추가적으로 건설된 군사기지"라며 "새로운 무기의 경쟁의 시대가 이 지역에서 일어날 것이고 제주도는 잠정적으로 군사적인 공격목표가 될 것"이라고 우려했다.

또 "제주 서귀포시 강정마을은 농민들과 어민들의 마을이지만 해군기지의 건설은 이들의 생존권을 파괴할 것"이라며 "제주의 해양 생태계 등 귀한 보물들을 잃게 될 것"이라고 했다.

이어 "마을주민의 90%가 해군기지의 건설을 반대하고 있다"며 "정부는 정책결정의 근거로 내세우는 마을회합은 마을 주민 1800명중 결코 전체의 대표성을 가질 수 조차 없는 소수그룹 80명만을 중재자로 선정했다"고 지적했다.

아시아교회협의회는 "한국 정부는 제주 군사기지 건설을 중단하기 바란다"며 "미국과 주변국들은 동북아시아의 평화와 한반도의 인권, 안보의 증진을 위해 무엇보다 환경을 보전하고, 발전을 위한 대안 모델을 찾아야 한다"고 밝혔다.

아시아 교회협의회는 동서로는 인도에서 한국에 이르는 축과 남북으로는 중국에서 뉴질랜드에 이르는 아시아권의 100여개 교단이 가맹되어 있는 기독교(개신교)에 있어서는 아시아의 UN과도 같은 기구다. 한국기독교교회협의회(NCCK)의 요청에 의해 지난 8∼10일에 걸쳐 제주 강정마을을 방문한 바 있다.

다음은 성명서 전문

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