Why build a naval base?
According to the Ministry of National Defense, the construction of Je-ju Navy Base can come in handy in military-wise. In time of emergency, Je-ju can be a suitable place for reinforcement. It is the right place to sufficiently accommodate the U.S fleets which include 2 aircraft carriers and 60 naval vessels. However, a strong conflict has been raised from both sides of this issue.
As mentioned above, a navy base should be constructed for the security of Korea. Captain, ‘Seok Hae-gyun’ said in a strong stance. “As I mentioned before, when I experienced the raid by the pirates, we shunted for three hours. However, if there was a naval base close-by the circumstances, things would have been different”. Moreover, next to Je-ju Island exist two main Korean islands, and one each owned by Japan and China, therefore it needs a strong geographical diversionary tactic. If the base is not installed on the Je-ju Island, Korean navy takes 21 hours to get to ‘Ieodo’ placed in the Southwest Sea. On the other hand, China takes 14 hours to get there. However, after the construction of Je-ju Navy Base, the time consumed will be deducted to 8 hours.
Korea is a country which imports oil 100 percent (no oil is yet found on Korean Peninsula). In Korean economy, this part takes a huge proportion in Korean industry. Importation is possible from South China Sea to a sea area of Je-ju Island. If the dispute with China occurs, the sea route will be blocked letting Korean Economy to become broken into pieces less than a week.
A tourist sector might see the prosperity after the successful installation of Je-ju Naval Base. Let’s see examples from overseas. The commonness of Sydney, Hawaii, Guam, Okinawa, Napoli, Toulon, and Rio de Janeiro is that they are global countries of tourist attractions and at the same time naval base is stationed. In the case of Rio de Janeiro, public security is not guaranteed, whereas, the surroundings of naval base is regarded as a ‘safety zone’
1) Security Threat
Opposing party claims that building a naval base puts Korean security into a serious danger. A top graduate from Military Academy, ‘Song Chang-uk’ claimed “The purpose of the construction of the naval base is a plan of the U.S to check on China as a part of ‘MD (Missile Defense)’. The U.S security plan puts Korea in serious danger. Look at the example of Cuba. The U.S let Russia construct the Missile Base in Cuba, and this let Cuba to be isolated internationally for several ten years. Like Russia threw away Cuba, the U.S could throw away us. This will in the end put our neck under the knife China is holding”.
2) Environmental Problem
A Large Scale of historical remains and endangered species had let Korean government to put these species under UNESCO and install the boundary of protection. However, the construction will let the environment to be damaged, and frequent coming in and out of warships will cause outflow of oil. Furthermore, the close-by areas of Naval Base will also be covered by the Air Force. This will trigger the beginning of letting all areas to become a base of military.
3) Je-ju Inhabitants’ Poll
‘Gangjeong’ village residents officially casted a vote in 2007 August 20th, and the outcome was that 94 percent of the inhabitants opposed a construction of the Navy Base (680 out of 725 residents opposed). However, the Korean government enforced regardless, in 2010 December. This has sparked an argument that this is a commit of an illegal act.
There is a saying ‘to lock the stable door after the horse is stolen’. This means, it is of no use when things turn out to go wrong. The construction of the Navy Base can result in a positive or a negative outcome, but it is no use changing what has already happened. It is better than building a base after an outbreak of a possible war.
< 저작권자 © 중앙헤럴드 무단전재 및 재배포금지 >