[KS] Jeju: “Island of Peace” in the Crosshairs of War
jsburgeson at yahoo.com
Sat Dec 6 03:34:25 EST 2014
For those interested, a good on-the-ground report on the current situation in Kangjong (Gangjeong) on Cheju Island:
By the time the navy came to Gangjeong, they planned a different approach, one that broke every village code in order to push through an illegal vote. Instead of holding a forum for the entire village, the navy discretely cajoled a handful of key villagers, including the Mayor, the Chairman of the Gangjeong Fishing Association, and the most influential Haenyeo divers. These handpicked few were given free trips to Hawaii to see how the U.S. Navy base there has supposedly increased tourism and created a booming economy. The Gangjeong elite were told that the navy wanted to make Jeju Island “the Hawaii of Korea.”
During this time the navy also deposited a sum of $7.8 million USD into the Gangjeong Fishing Association for “damage compensation,” which was distributed among the chosen Haenyeo. When it was time to hold the vote, only 87 people participated, and the Korean government’s tactics paid off, with a vote approving the base. The remaining 1,800 people of Gangjeong Village were completely unaware of this until it was announced on the evening news that they had voted in favor of the military installation, unanimously. By the time the shock wore off and the procedures for a legal village-wide vote were arranged and completed, in which 94 percent voted against the base, the Korean Navy had already handed over the $1 billion project to Samsung.
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