Demolitions reignite Jeju Island protests
Demolitions reignite Jeju Island protestsSouth Korea begins blasting parts of Jeju Island for naval base construction.
Residents and peace activists enter Gurumbi beach, which has been fenced off by the police, in Gangjeong village, in Seogwipo on Jeju Island, south of Seoul March 7, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Myung-ik
A battle between national security interests and environmental preservation is currently taking centre stage on the small island of Jeju, located off the southern coast of South Korea. Residents there staged another round of protests and sit-ins as the South Korean navy began blasting parts of the island on Wednesday to make way for construction of a naval base.
Jeju residents, environmental activists, and opposition lawmakers say the naval base will make residents vulnerable to potential military skirmishes and destroy the island’s natural beauty. The island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was recently chosen as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature.
The South Korean government argues that Jeju's strategic location at the crossroads of China, Japan, and North Korea makes it necessary for national security reasons to construct a base there.
Here are some of the highlights from the conversation online:
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