International Peace Activists Support Locals in Challenge to Korean/US Base

Trident Ploughshares Press Release: 23rd February 2012
The anti-nuclear campaign group Trident Ploughshares is among a number of international groups and individuals who are supporting villagers in their fight to stop the building of a US nuclear base on Jeju, the South Korean “Island of Peace”.

The anti-nuclear campaign group Trident Ploughshares is among a number of international groups and individuals who are supporting villagers in their fight to stop the building of a US nuclear base on Jeju, the South Korean “Island of Peace”.

The Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space holds its 20th annual space organising conference in Gangjeong village on Jeju Island on February 24-26. The Network is made upof 150 peace groups around the world who are working to oppose the development of a new arms race in space. The theme for the conference will be ’Jeju for Island of Peace’.

The South Korean Navy is building a new base just 300-miles from the Chinese mainland which will become a port for U.S. Navy Aegis destroyers fitted with the missile defence systems that are key elements in Pentagon first-strike attack planning. The 400-year old Gangjeong fishing and farming village on Jeju Island is being destroyed to build the base. Endangered soft-coral reefs offshore will also be destroyed when the seabed is dredged to make it possible to bring U.S. warships into the port.

Activists will come to Jeju Island from as far away as India, the UK, Sweden, U.S., Japan, Taiwan, and from throughout South Korea to discuss the controversial missile defence deployments that are now being used to surround Russia and China.

Global Network Coordinator Bruce Gagnon said, ’When I, and other Global Network members, called the South Korean embassy in Washington DC to express support for the Gangjeong villagers fighting to save their way of life we were told, ’Don’t call us. Call your own government. They are forcing us to build this base.’ The currently planned doubling of U.S. military operations in the Asia-Pacific region is has raised serious concerns about the impact on people who live there and for world peace.

Angie Zelter, founder of the non-violent Trident Ploughshares campaign and a nominee for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize,said, ’Not only will I speak at the conference but I will be staying on for a month to give whatever support I can to this brave and peaceful struggle. The villagers have been resisting this US base for over 5 years now, trying to keep their village intact and their island an island for peace not war. There have been 197 arrests of peaceful villagers in the last 8 months alone. Peace groups on the Korean mainland that support the protests are now facing rising oppression by the National Intelligence Service of Korea. They need international support We are all in the same struggle to prevent war and endless militarisation’.

Notes:
1. Angie Zelter is a resident of Knighton in Powis.

2. For more information on the resistance to the base see http://cafe.daum.net/peacekj/49kU/1368 and also updates on the facebook of No Naval Base on Jeju and website: www.savejejuisland.org

Contacts: Angie Zelter 00-44-78-3535-4652.

Trident Ploughshares www.tridentploughshares.org
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament www.cnduk.org