Report: Space Issues Talk: Jeju City, South Korea

Bruce with two translators Joyak-gol and Sung-Hee. Soon-jeong at the podium moderated

By Bruce Gagnon,
Posted on Organizing Notes, 21 February 2024

After a very long 15 hour flight from Boston to Seoul I was escorted by long-time Global Network member Choi Sung-Hee to the domestic airport via train and we then flew to Jeju Island.

We were picked up at the very busy Jeju airport by Green Party activist Soon-jeong who ran for governor in the last island election. She got about 5% of the vote and has lately been getting engaged in the space issue on Jeju where the aerospace industry has big plans for satellite production and rocket launching.

It was another hour of travel to Gangjeong village from the Jeju airport where I spent the night in the Catholic peace center. So after about 20-some hours of travel I got a chance to get some sleep.

Morning breakfast at the peace center with friends from my previous trips to Jeju. (Click on photos for better view)

The next morning I had breakfast with a group of Gangjeong ‘No Navy Base’ leaders who I had met on previous visits to the beleaguered village. I had come in the past to show solidarity as the US forced the South Korean (ROK) government to build the Navy base to port US warships as part of Washington’s ‘pivot’ to the Asia-Pacific to prepare for war with North Korea-China-Russia.

At noon I participated in the daily peace vigil at the front gate of the Navy base followed by dancing to three songs that the Gangjeong campaign became famous for.

Vigil at front gate of Navy base
Vigil at front gate of Navy base

Next was lunch in the community kitchen that has been serving meals to activists since the campaign to stop the Navy base began many years ago.

Lunch at the community kitchen in Gangjeong village after the Navy base vigil

Then in the afternoon I was taken to witness two locations on Jeju where space tech facilities are being either upgraded or newly constructed as part of the ROK’s major integration into the US space war fighting program now well underway here.

With friend Koh Gilchun, a renowned artist on Jeju Island

Next was dinner with 10 activists from Jeju who led the organizing for my speaking tour. Then finally to the trade federation union hall back in Jeju City for my first talk on this trip that was attended by just over 60 people from throughout the island.

After my talk was over people posed for photos and held up the programs

The next day a news conference was held to express strong opposition to these space infrastructure developments on Jeju Island. Surprisingly there was good attendance by media representatives. This video below already has over 6,000 views and good comments I am told.

In my bit during the news conference I told a couple short stories about other rocket launch facilities where the local communities were promised it would be used only for civilian purposes but they were betrayed. Rocket Lab in New Zealand and Kodiak Island, Alaska have turned out to be dominated by military launches.

And then an hour long meeting with Catholic Bishop Kang of Jeju Island (now retired) who has been a long time advocate against the construction of the Navy base and the on-going militarization of the island.

I gave the Bishop a broad overview of the space militarization program and we talked about what needs to be done to break the domination of the military industrial complex in South Korea and the United States.

See: Original Post

See also: Anti-War Peace Activist Concerned “Jeju seems to be turning into a big South Korea-U.S. military base”, ‘People Opposing to Space Militarization and Rocket Launch’ have  invited Bruce Gagnon to visit Jeju and give a lecture (by Kim Soon-ae).