Korea tour: U.S. Navy base in Busan

By Bruce Gagnon,
Posted in Organizing Notes, 22 February, 2024

Today we drove about an hour from our hotel to the other side of Busan to see a beautiful spot where the ROK government is planning to build a runway on top of the bay. They plan to take half of a nearby mountain to use it as fill dirt in the water. It’s a crazy plan that will cost more than 13 trillion Korean won.

A woman who is one one of the activists organizing to stop the project gave us a tour of the site on a very cold and windy day. There would be severe environmental implications from this airport project but both major political parties are supporting it – likely because the construction industry in the ROK is very strong and they stand to make big money.

Banners like the yellow one hanging here are all over the road approaching the spot where the proposed runway would be built on top of this beautiful place. They proclaim the local villages opposition to the plan.

Following lunch at a busy local Korean restaurant we were taken to see the U.S. Navy base in Busan. Two men from a local organization that tracks the base came to drive us around the perimeter and to explain what goes on there.

They told us:

  • U.S. Nuclear aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines port in Busan
  • Navy Aegis destroyers don’t port here but go to the new Navy base in Gangjeong village on Jeju Island.
  • The U.S. also has a bio-warfare lab at Busan that works on several types of bio-weapons. The US biological war program for the Asia-Pacific is headquartered in Busan. (The US is surrounding China and Russia with bio-logical war installations. Many have been found inside Ukraine by Russia since that war began. To learn more about the history of U.S. bio-warfare read this important book. A Plague upon Humanity: The Secret Genocide of Axis Japan’s Germ Warfare Operation)
  • The Pentagon ships supplies and equipment for U.S. bases in the ROK to Busan and then puts the cargo on trains and sends it across South Korea to re-supply its many military bases around the country.
  • Busan (and all American bases in the ROK) are being upgraded and expanded to prepare for war with China-North Korea-Russia.
  • The U.S. war fighting alliance is also expanding across the Asia-Pacific region with Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Guam, Philippines, and Okinawa being prepped for battle.  
 The walls surrounding the Busan naval base look like a medieval fortress. In a sense that is just what it is.

My talk in Busan was organized by this smiling 21 year old bundle of joy named Won Sehyun who leads the Green Party in ROK’s second largest city (after Seoul). She told us that earlier in the day she stood alone in the cold on the street with a sign for 4 1/2 hours in protest against the plan to build the runway over the water.

She said she knew nothing about the space issue and was afraid no one would show up for the talks. But 23 people came and it was wonderful.

My last PowerPoint slide shows a protest organized by Choi Sung-Hee who lead the organizing for this speaking tour. It was held at the spot where the ROK’s second military satellite was recently  launched from an oil rig type platform just off the Jeju Island coast.

Sung-Hee then did a spell binding talk about her involvement in the space issue and why it is so crucial for South Korean activists to begin to understand and help articulate the links between the space issue and the environment as each launch releases tons of toxic exhaust that helps punch a bigger hole in the ozone layer. And as space keeps getting increasingly crowded the orbits around our tiny spinning Earth are being filled with dangerous space junk. At some point, if we keep heading in this same direction, the ‘Kessler Syndrome’ will kick in with cascading collisions in orbit creating a virtual mine field around Earth.

After the talks were over we took a group photo. One man came up to me and said he could ‘feel my heart’. Another man said he had heard me speak in this country 20 years ago when I was on another tour.

A woman asked during the Q & A what our strategy was. I replied that it is like gardening – you have to prepare the soil, plant and nurture the seeds before the fruits on the vine can be picked. I said we need others to help plant these seeds about the space issue if we hope to build a global consciousness to make the necessary changes.

Our next stop on this journey will be on the other side of the country in Gunsan where the first US Space Forces troops stationed in the ROK were sworn into the newly created command. My visit there is being hosted by the notorious (in only the best sense of the word) Catholic activist priest Father Mun. He’s long been involved in the big struggles for peace and social justice all across South Korea. 

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