Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The final cut

While I was in Camp Carroll on Sunday, Pyeongtaek was the scene of a riot. I really do not understand why the are protesting and to be honest I have no ideal why the government allows these people to beat up on the young police officers. Then only thing I can guess is that they fear a repeat of A 1980 Kwangju happening again in 2005. I could be very wrong in this guess also.

(see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/752055.stm for a BBC version of what happened in 1980 Kwangju)

I was at Yongsan the day of the riots and I was like WTF, The US Army is leaving Seoul by 2008 and moving to Pyeongtaek, Some Pro-North Korean college students atempt to riot and its seen all over the world. Now we get this protest about the troops going to Pyeongtaek and the US Army needing more land. I have also seen a protest about the Korean workers who will loose jobs when the US Army leaves, but it was a very civil protest compared to these two.

So you want the US out of Seoul, you don't want any bigger base in Pyeongtaek, and you don't want to loose any jobs? Catch-22 for the US Big time.

I saw this today on english.chosun and i didn't know if the quote was a joke or he really believed this about the polution.

Pyeongtaek ‘Has No Land for U.S. Troops’
The Defense Ministry and Pyeongtaek residents are locked in escalating tensions over a plan to move U.S. bases to the town. The Defense Ministry plans to secure land for U.S. Forces in Korea scheduled for relocation from Seoul, Uijeongbu and Dongducheon, but locals say their land is not for sale.

The official announcement that the USFK would move its major bases to Pyeongtaek came last August. Under the redeployment plans, a total of 3.49 million pyeong (about 7.68 million square meters) is needed for the new bases -- close to three times the area U.S. bases currently occupy there. The area is to accommodate most of what is now Yongsan Garrison, Combined Forces Command, UN Command and the Second Infantry Division in Uijeongbu and Dongducheon, which will leave behind only a few training facilities. Locals and 135 civic groups have formed a committee to stop base expansion in their area. “We will reject all attempts to forcefully take the land." On Sunday, nearly 10,000 students, residents and members of rights groups took to the streets in a march against base expansion and war on the Korean Peninsula.

Kim Ji-tae, a member of the committee, said, "Living near the U.S. bases, we've suffered for decades from environmental pollution, sound pollution and other things, and now we must surrender even our land?" He vowed the committee would accept no Defense Ministry offer predicated on compensation. A ministry official said that once plans to move U.S. bases to Pyeongtaek were in place, the ministry went to residents, held meetings and set up a mobile counseling center to woo support. That was “sufficient contact with local residents,” he said. The committee says none of the meetings attended by locals was conducted properly. Clashes with police during Sunday'’s march left about 100 injured. The Defense Ministry is under pressure to conclude the land purchases since the deadline for handing it over to the U.S. military is the end of the year. There is much concern that as long as the differences in opinion between the two sides continue, tensions in the Pyeongtaek area will worsen.

For move views on Sundays action please go to this link


This should be intresting to watch in the next few years.

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