Seaborne Aegis missile defence systems
In October 2004 the United States announced plans to deploy Aegis warships in waters off North Korea to serve as forward radars for a missile defence system being ‘readied for operations’.
An increasing number of warships equipped with Aegis missile defense systems are now patrolling the seas of the world.
Concern has been expressed about the number in the vicinity of Japan, which has four such ships and Korea. In June 2011, the second South Korean warship equipped with Aegis missile defense technology entered into active duty, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Friday and the third South Korean Aegis warship began its testing period in March.
Some activist websites believe that the US is establishing such warships, able to reach vessels in Chinese and Russian waters – in order to ‘manage’ those powers and control the route to China used by oil tankers.
A threat to Jeju – a ‘Peace Island’
Jenny Maxwell writes in the WMCND newsletter that – urged on by the US – South Korea is planning a large naval base on Jeju to berth Aegis warships.
The environment of this island – including fish and coral – also designated by UNESCO as a Global Geopark, will be adversely affected and the agricultural livelihoods of the islanders in that area destroyed.
Jeju has a sad history of invasion, repression and victimisation and in the 1950s the islanders rose up in protest at the decision to divide the Korean nation.
The ‘sasam’ movement was born in the 1980s, seeking truth, reconciliation & healing. A Peace Forum was established in 2001 and has organised six conferences to regional security.
In 2005 central government declared Jeju an Island of Peace and a Peace Park was set up in 2008.
Dr Anne Hilty, a psychologist living on island, surmises that the regular presence of personnel in military uniforms, will be traumatic for those who have lived through occupation.
Readers who follow the links given will find a deeply affecting story of suffering and striving for a more peaceful future. This should be supported, not swept away for a military base.