Korean civil society and faith leaders are currently protesting the construction of a naval base on Jeju Island. Known as the “Island of Peace” and home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a biosphere reserve, Jeju Island is a haven for endangered dolphins, a fragile coral ecosystem and other unique species.
Please say no to the base construction and show your solidarity with Gangjeong villagers by sending a letter to the Korean Ambassador. Information on how to contact the Korean Embassy in Washington, D.C. is found below.
Our faith tells us to let peace rule in our hearts and care for Creation. God created this world with the intention that it be peace-filled. As peacemakers , we cannot destroy God’s creation. In Pope Benedict’s World Day of Peace statement in 2006, he told us that if we want peace, we must protect Creation. Take time to ensure that Creation thrives on Jeju Island here.
The construction of the Jeju Island Naval Base will likely cause rapid extinction to thousands of endangered coral species. Additionally the construction may increase long-term sedimentation and pollutants from dredging and filling activities, small and constant leakages of oil and other fuel sources, and the leakage of other toxic contaminants from machinery into the soil and water around the base. The farming and fishing community of Gangjeong depend on the coral reef and fertile land for survival.
Our faith calls us to respect life and dignity of the human person. We have a responsibility to care for the common good and health of all God’s people.. Villagers in Gangjeong also fear that the presence of thousands of military personnel from Korea and the United States will lead to an increase in bars and prostitution that will threaten public health and their traditional lifestyle. Already more than 500 community members and supporters have been arrested by police. The presence of130,000 police in the community and surrounding area already adds extra hardship for community members.
Columban Father, Pat Cunningham , who is part of the Save Jeju Now Coalition, reflects the urgency of Christian witness and action in Jeju Island:
“In a region that is already heavily militarized and becoming increasingly dangerous, with the US and China facing off in a battle to control access to trade routes and dwindling natural resources, the ongoing opposition to the construction of the naval base being carried out by Samsung Construction is critical. It is an important work for the Church at this time.”
Take this opportunity now to show your support for the people of Gangjeong and creation by sending a letter to Korean Ambassador Choi.
The letter can be sent by fax, email, or mail to:
Ambassador Y.J. Choi
2450 Massachusetts Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008