Of the proposed 40 million pyong of land
to be returned, about 39 million pyong covers training facilities which
have almost been abandoned by U.S. troops. Until now, the USFK has just
been holding that land to prohibit Korean people's access.
In addition, most of the controversial bases and ranges are excluded from the U.S. military's new land plan. South Koreans have long called for the relocation or closure of the Yongsan Garrison and the Koon-ni shooting range in Maehyang-ri, and other U.S. facilities in downtown areas of large cities across the nation.
From the environmental perspective, how about the contaminated water and soil which is in the 40 million pyong of land? A series of environmental accidents have happened on U.S. bases. Yongsan 8th garrison revealed that the soil and water was seriously contaminated by oil. On Camp Indian, asbestos was found.
South Korea does know how much money it needs for the restoration of the polluted area. We can not even build a house or kindergarten for children on the returned land from the USFK.
The USFK asks for 750,000 pyong of new land for base and training facilities.
We say again, no!
No more land for US military use.
No more land for the practice of the War.
No more land for the deployment of nuclear weapons.
The land readjustment plan is nothing but part of the United States' scheme to permanently station its forces on the Korean Peninsula and prepare for the MD (Missile Defense) plan in Korea.
The plan-- based on a strategic shift by the United States under the Bush administration from overseas bases and ground forces to a rapid reaction capability and long-range weapons - seriously omits one vital aspect: the host country's sentiments and rights to live. As a result, angry residents in the vicinity of the practice range are planning massive protests.
There are currently 37,000 US troops stationed on 95 bases in South Korea. The Maehayang-ri villagers are still fighting against USFK and Lockheed-Martin. For half a century, continuous bombing training has been occurring there and has cost 11 people their lives in accidents. Maehyang-ri villagers are being killed, being made sick, and their source of livelihood is being destroyed.
According to the Korean government, U.S soldiers committed 761 crimes in 1999 against Korean citizens. In most of these cases, U.S soldiers have been released without punishment or compensation to the victims. Even those suspected of killing Korean barmaids in ways beyond description, seemed to get away with murder. They were not punished by the Korean legal system. It was only this year that Korea finally won the right to take U.S. suspects into custody before indictment. Japan made a similar revision five years ago.
From an environmental perspective, USFA seems to think that Korean land is a waste bin. Recently, Seoul City and USFK admitted that there is widespread contamination of the underground water and soil at the main U.S. military compound in Yongsan. The confirmation of oil leakage at the Yongsan base has intensified growing suspicion that the U.S. military base may be the source of oil found in manholes and
water tanks at the nearby Noksapyeong subway station.
Under the current unjust SOFA, there is nothing that we can do about this kind of environmental disaster. For example, the person (Mr. McFarland) who was found to have ordered a subordinate to pour 480 bottles of formaldehyde into the Han-river got promoted in USFK. He is still working in a mortuary building and to this day deals with formaldehyde.
Why do these kind of baseless things happen in Korea? The U.S. is in Korea and an unjust SOFA still exists. Now, no Korean thinks that U.S. troops are stationed in Korea to protect Korea? They know that they are stationed here for there own interests.
The anti-U.S. base movement is widespread among Koreans. We believe that Korea is not the only country that suffers from U.S. military abuse.: Okinawa in Japan, Vieques in Puerto Rico are all in the same boat. That's why we are here together.
Nowadays Koreans are deeply concerned about Japan's new textbook issue, guidelines, and minister's rememberance of the Yasukuni Shrine. It became a really controversial issue in East Asia. We hope that the Japanese people do not lose the chance to reconcile these problems. If Japan continues to deny history, we fear that they will isolate themselves.
The thing that we want is peace-- no war, no killing, no blood.
To be a nuclear-free world.
To be a weapon-free world.
Until all of the war industry closes the doorc let us all be peacemakers!
*Chomsky, Noam. What Uncle Sam Really Wants. Berkeley: Odonian Press, 1986-92.