ROK Drop

Avatar of GI KoreaBy on August 19th, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Pro-North Korea Activists Try To Turn Cheju Naval Base Construction Into An Anti-US Issue

I knew after I read this Japan Focus article that the protests over the construction of the ROK military’s Cheju naval base was going to be hijacked by the usual suspects on the Korean left and turned into an anti-US hate fest.  Why is that?  Well look who is one of the leaders of the protest:

For those that don’t know that is Father Moon Jeong-hyun who has played key leadership roles in various anti-US protests over the years.  Using religious figures for their protests is a common tactic by the pro-Pyongyang, anti-US left in Korea in order to give their protests a sense of moral cover.  Father Moon along with the Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice that he is a member of worked together to protest in 2002 against USFK in the wake of the Armored Vehicle Accident as well as providing moral cover, like the CPAJ is doing now, for the extremely violent protesters who tried to prevent the Camp Humphreys expansion. The CPAJ has also been quite active in trying to abolish the National Security Law as well.  It should come as no surprise that elements of the umbrella organization that the CPAJ belonged to during the Camp Humphreys riots were later linked to a North Korean spy scandal. So the motivations of these people are pretty clear.

The Japan Focus article also shows the Korean Teachers & Education Workers’ Union is also involved in the protests.  This group routinely indoctrinates students with pro-communist propaganda, spreads anti-government lies, and anti-Americanism in the classrooms of Korean schools.  To further emphasize where the true loyalties of this organization lies, the political party they were caught giving money to, the DLP was linked to a North Korean spy scandal. So considering the past activities of this teachers’ union, it is easy to understand why the Lee government is taking the measures they are to prosecute and fire many of its members from Korean schools.

Well the tone of these protests became even clearer today with this article published in the New York Times:

The South Korean Navy has erected a billboard in the village displaying an artist’s conception of a state-of-the-art, “eco-friendly” port, covering about 125 acres and receiving luxury cruise ships as well as military vessels.

“A new attraction for beautiful Jeju!” it proclaims.

Nearby, protesters’ banners accuse the navy of destroying the environment and the villagers’ way of life.

“Don’t bring war here!” one says.  (……………)

“Fight to the death against the American imperialists’ anti-China naval base!” says one banner.  [NY Times via the Marmot's Hole]

Basically what you have going on here is the pro-North Korean agitators are trying to drum up an anti-US issue before next year’s South Korean presidential election.  This tactic worked in 2002 to elect Roh Moo-hyun in the wake of the Armored Vehicle Accident.  I don’t think the anti-US tactic is going to work this time though because I feel the South Korean public has a very different perception of both the US military and North Korea in 2011.  We will have to wait and see how this plays out, but I would be surprised if it turns into another anti-US beef riot like we saw in 2008.

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  • Jerry
    4:48 pm on August 19th, 2011 1

    Geez whats happened to Korea? Pro North protesters? Back when I was in Korea they would have taken these ….. to the border and said run along now. Go enjoy your North Korea experience.

    We experienced protesters when I was there. Generally it was college students who would stay on campus and once or twice try to come into Seoul were they were met with riot police and tear gas. To me it seemed to be a way to celebrate the arrival of spring, because once they were done they went back to class.

  • kushibo
    5:10 pm on August 19th, 2011 2

    True to their tactics, the chinboistas are running this up the flagpole to see if it flies.

    While this is probably not enough to reach critical mass, if they succeed at whipping up a lot of anti-US sentiment over the FTA, who knows? In the end, it probably won’t amount to much.

    As for the Cheju people, however, the massacres of the 1940s are fresh in people’s heads, and they see themselves as an island of peace and beauty. Putting a new naval base there might go over about as well as doing the same on Kauai.

  • setnaffa
    5:55 pm on August 19th, 2011 3

    NIMBY is a standard lefty attitude. Like Teddy Kennedy and Wind Farms…

  • kushibo
    8:00 pm on August 19th, 2011 4

    setnaffa wrote:

    NIMBY is a standard lefty attitude. Like Teddy Kennedy and Wind Farms…

    Through partisan eyes, the other side is always a demon.

    NIMBY is a standard elitist attitude, coming occasionally from both left-wing elitists and right-wing elitists.

  • setnaffa
    10:26 pm on August 19th, 2011 5

    Some of us don’t see “right wing elitists” as “right wing”. There’s no difference between what they want to do to the rest of us.

  • Lee, Byung Hee
    1:22 am on August 20th, 2011 6

    Believe it or not there’re more than 30k NKorean spies in SK.

    They made broederbonds, won over or permeated into our schools(teachers labor union 전교조), environmental NGOs, Press medias, labor unions, minor political parties and military.
    Even a secretary of former congress chairman was arrested for being a NK spy.
    http://news.donga.com/3/all/20110730/39190225/1

    Those spies control these organizations from behind then organization members instigate citizens via internet to be protest the Grand National Party, Lee Myung-Bak and the US.
    Teachers try to brainwash students to be anti-Americans and leftists.

    For the last two left-leaning administrations(Kim Dae-Joong, Roh Moo-Hyun), Government even NIS didn’t much try to catch spies due to ‘Sunshine policy’ so there are so many radical NGOs founded. Also these NGOs and unions were protected by gov under name of ‘freedom of speech’ and ‘civil liberty’. Resultingly these led to intensify the ideological conflict in today’s Korea society.

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    7:35 am on August 20th, 2011 7

    Kushibo as far as Kauai there is already a US Navy installation there.

    I am also not convinced that most people on Cheju are completely against the base. According to the NY Times article the village is split on to build it or not and that is despite all the money and organizations pouring into the village to protest its construction. This seems similar to the Camp Humphreys expansion where most people in Anjung-ri outside of Camp Humphreys wanted the expansion but the small minority negatively impacted by losing their farms were augmented by the leftist groups intent on creating violence and pushing their anti-US agenda. I wouldn’t be surprised if the same thing happens here.

  • kushibo
    10:07 am on August 20th, 2011 8

    GI Korea wrote:

    Kushibo as far as Kauai there is already a US Navy installation there.

    I’m aware of that, but please note that I referred to putting up a new naval base.

    Some segments of the population in Kauai are vehemently — almost militantly — opposed to any change in the status quo, even those that brings development and jobs.

    When the Superferry was set to go to Kauai once a day, people paddled out into the harbor to physically block the vessel, while the cars of those who were waiting to get on the ferry reportedly had their tires slashed or flattened, were verbally assaulted by people pounding on their cars as they waited to get on, etc., etc. In the end, the Superferry decided to make two runs a day to Maui (whose residents seemed more enthusiastic about the ferry) and said goodbye to Kauai.

    It probably was a minority of Kauai residents who were that opposed anyway (I saw them referred to as “a bunch of ‘fair skinned’ emigre neanderthals smashing windshields and slashing tires,” an indicator of the racial tension infused in the local culture here just below the surface), but they controlled the debate and got their way.

    The people who didn’t get their way were the local farmers who could have more easily brought their goods to market in Honolulu, Oahu residents who would want to visit family and friends or take affordable staycations with their own car instead of a rental, etc., etc.

    I am also not convinced that most people on Cheju are completely against the base. …

    This seems similar to the Camp Humphreys expansion where most people in Anjung-ri outside of Camp Humphreys wanted the expansion but the small minority negatively impacted by losing their farms were augmented by the leftist groups intent on creating violence and pushing their anti-US agenda. I wouldn’t be surprised if the same thing happens here.

    I suspect the same thing.

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    11:42 am on August 20th, 2011 9

    The Superferry issue on Kauai had to do with local businesses protecting their island monopoly and residents wanting to limit development on the island. The local businesses on the island already took a hit with the major retailers like Wal-mart opening up shop. Giving people the option to take their vehicle to Oahu and shop in bulk at cheaper prices and take a ferry back to Kauai would have been an even larger hit on businesses. The airline, hotel, and rental car businesses where many native islanders work would have been hit hard by the ferry.

    The ferry would have also made it possible for people to live in Kauai and commute to work on Oahu each day if their work schedule was flexible enough. That could have caused a further rise in property prices on an island were native islanders are beginning to be priced off their island due to the amount of wealthy people purchasing property on Kauai.

  • kushibo
    1:23 pm on August 20th, 2011 10

    At the risk of turning this into a Kauai-related discussion…

    GI Korea, I don’t disagree with you on any of that, but the point is still the same: a smaller and very militant group with a narrow set of interests went into overdrive to prevent “change” from coming to their area. And they used environmental issues as a pretext for their primary motivations that (in many cases) had little to do with environmental issues.

    What’s interesting is that many of the anti-Superferry opponents themselves were transplants from other places.

    Anyway, while the airlines and rental car businesses felt they may have been hurt, I’m not so sure that really would have been the case. With airlines, perhaps, but the rental car companies may have made up the loss of customers among those who would bring their cars by an increase in overall visitors who would take advantage of cheaper rates to get there.

    For renting a car, one would need to be there about three or four days for it to be cost-effective to bring your own car. But the Superferry fare, half or two-thirds of the airline cost right now, would have meant more people coming for a couple days, and thus more rental car customers.

    (I myself had planned to bring my car on the Superferry to the Big Island, but only because it’s designed to handle the road up to Mauna Kea, unlike most of the rentals. It was killed by the court decision over the Environmental Impact Study just weeks before I would have gone.)

    Anyway, no small number of people on Kauai were disappointed, but the real anger came from those on Maui and the Big Island, who saw the Superferry as a badly needed lifeline.

    Imagine having to spend $160 round trip to go from Seoul to Ch’ŏnan. Or at least the same amount to leave Seoul at all. That’s the reality of living on Oahu. Right now I have the crazy idea of bringing airship service to the islands (no one could accuse a dirigible of killing whales). Now if only I can get the seed capital.

  • kushibo
    1:30 pm on August 20th, 2011 11

    USinKorea lived in Hawaii for a while. I wonder what his thoughts are on this.

    I’ve lived on Oahu for most of the past five years now, but have only visited Maui and the Big Island, not Kauai. What I “know” about Kauai is based on news reports, other people’s thoughts and opinions (including some Sierra Club folks), and the like.

  • kangaji
    5:23 pm on August 20th, 2011 12

    KUSHIBO – This is going to be of great interest to you.

  • Avatar of USinKoreaUSinKorea
    6:12 pm on August 20th, 2011 13

    My head was in a book the whole time. I can’t speak for attitudes on even Oahu.

  • Teadrinker
    8:08 pm on August 20th, 2011 14

    One thing…The question is not whether North Korean spies associate themselves to the anti-American movement, but rather if such a movement would exist without the spies. ;-)

  • Tom Langley
    8:19 pm on August 20th, 2011 15

    Teadrinker #14, I think you hit the nail right on the head.

  • ArchieB
    6:15 am on August 22nd, 2011 16

    It also helps that so many South Koreans won’t speak up against the left when they will grumble privately that the left is openly supporting Kim Jong-Il.

  • kushibo
    12:48 pm on August 22nd, 2011 17

    ArchieB wrote:

    It also helps that so many South Koreans won’t speak up against the left when they will grumble privately that the left is openly supporting Kim Jong-Il.

    True, that.

    Part of that is a function of the great middle having jobs and real-world responsibilities, such that professional passionate protesting simply isn’t an option.

    Thank goodness representative democracy is decided by elections instead of protests.

  • kushibo
    12:56 pm on August 22nd, 2011 18

    USinKorea wrote:

    My head was in a book the whole time. I can’t speak for attitudes on even Oahu.

    Ha ha. I see where you’re coming from. It’s possible to be so caught up in school in Honolulu and be largely clueless about what’s happening with people elsewhere on the island.

    It’s a characteristic of mine (some would say personality flaw) that I will go up and talk with anybody about anything, particularly when I’m traveling somewhere new, and when I was on the Big Island for the first time last year, I talked with a lot of people (Hilo residents mostly) about the SuperFerry. I never heard such rants against such a wide range of people, from the “idiots” on Kauai to big business interests uncharacteristically siding with environmental groups to sink the SuperFerry (figuratively).

    A lot of people are very upset about the whole thing.

    I hope you didn’t spend all your time in a book, USinKorea, as this is a wonderful island to be on.

  • kushibo
    1:06 pm on August 22nd, 2011 19

    Teadrinker wrote:

    One thing…The question is not whether North Korean spies associate themselves to the anti-American movement, but rather if such a movement would exist without the spies.

    I think it would, though it would be much more like an anti-base movement, focused on issues of expansion, crime control, environmental pollution, etc.. After all, we see those in Guam, Puerto Rico, Okinawa, and even places like California.

    But they would largely be more concerned about results than grandstanding, and rarely would they try to upend the political process (or something more sinister).

    Anyway, one thing to watch out for is a chinboista connection (and thus Pyongyang-led influence and even infiltration) of anti-base or anti-US groups in Okinawa and even Guam, but especially Okinawa. There are already substantial interactions between the Korea-based groups and their Okinawa counterparts.

 

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