Submitted by Eugene E Ruyle, VFP Chapter 162

Whereas, the volcanic island of Jeju, off the southern coast of Korea, famous for its extraordinary beauty and pristine environment, is a favorite honeymoon destination for newlywed couples and an unparalleled global ecological treasure, with UNESCO World Natural Heritage sites, UNESCO Global Geological Parks, and a designated Global Biosphere Reserve; and

Whereas, Gangjeong Village, on Jeju Island, is home to thousands of species of plants and animals, many of which are endangered, lava rock freshwater tide pools, endangered soft coral reefs, sacred natural sites, and nearly 2,000 indigenous villagers, including farmers, fishermen and traditional women divers, that have relied upon the surrounding marine and terrestrial environment for nearly 4000 years; and

Whereas, the people of Jeju were subjected in1948 to one of the most genocidal campaigns of “pacification” in postwar history at the instigation and direction of the US Military Government in Korea, when paramilitary terror, scorched earth policies, forced relocations, mass rapes, massacres, exterminations, and other atrocities killed up to 80,000 civilians (one third of the population) and burned 90% of its villages to the ground; and

Whereas, the US Military has been a continuous and unwanted occupying force on the Korean peninsula in open and blatant contravention of the 1953 Korean Armistice Agreement; imposing its political, economic, cultural, and military will on the Korean people in order to expand U.S. military and economic presence and influence in the region; and

Whereas, the South Korean government has contracted with Samsung, a multinational conglomerate, for the construction of a massive, 50 hectare, deep water military naval installation near Gangjeong Village, designed to house more than 8000 marines, 20 warships, including US Nuclear-armed Aegis Missile Destroyers, as well as US nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers, and

Whereas, according to the Mutual Defense Treaty and the Status of Forces Agreement between South Korea and the United States, the US military retains wartime command over all of South Korea’s military, and would therefore obtain operational control of the Gangjeong military facility; and

Whereas, this construction is directly and irreparably harming the biodiversity, culture, economy, and welfare of the village and indigenous villagers by forcing relocation of villagers from their traditional farmlands and denying coastal access to their habitual fishing and diving grounds; and through its destruction of sacred natural sites, burial grounds, soft coral reefs, farmlands, groundwater, ocean water and habitat, soil quality, fishing grounds, and natural springs; and

Whereas, overseas military bases are the visible instruments of US militarism, imperialism and the war economy, undermining the lives and livelihoods of local people, imposing a violent culture of commodification and exploitation of women and girls, and creating a “base economy” of prostitution, gendered violence, and “service” industries; and

Whereas, the residents of Gangjeong Village, having voted by a 94% majority to oppose the naval base, have been using every possible democratic and legal means to block construction, including petitions, lawsuits, non-violent civil disobedience, hunger strikes, protests, vigils; risking their lives and personal freedom in the face of overwhelming repression by police and security forces, as well as hired thugs; and

Whereas, the Korean people understand that this deep water Naval Base is designed a key component of Obama’s Pacific Pivot, a platform for the projection of US military throughout the region and threatening other regional powers, thus escalating the danger of war and potentially destabilizing the entire Asia-Pacific region; and

Whereas, the construction of this naval installation violates every principle and value of our Veterans for Peace mission that includes restraining our government from intervening, overtly or covertly, in the internal affairs of other nations, reducing and ending the arms race, and the abolishment of war as an instrument of foreign policy, and

Whereas, a peace team from Veterans for Peace, sent to Jeju Island as part of the international effort to support local protestors, were refused entry by Korean security officials without cause in March 2012;

Therefore Be It Resolved that Veterans For Peace, meeting at its national convention in Madison, Wisconsin in August, 2013, reaffirms our solidarity with the villagers of Gangjeong in their opposition to the construction of this Naval Base and urges the Obama Administration and Congress to stop construction of the Jeju Island Naval Base as a first step toward a lasting peace on the Korean peninsula and East Asia.

This motion to Stop The Second U.S. Assault On Jeju Island, Korea passed unanimously in our local East Bay Chapter #162. It was then sent it to our national office. The National Board unanimously recommended a “Yes” vote, and put it on the agenda for our national meeting in Madison, Wisconsin, in August 2013. The Conventions approved in in a non-binding vote by acclamation. It was then sent out for the mail vote and passed overwhelmingly, 714 Yes to 16 No.