April 28, 2009 10:33
Jeju Island is to house a new naval base in five years' time. The government reached an agreement with the provincial government Monday to build a naval facility on the island by 2014.
The facility, to be located on the southern coast of the resort island, will be used as a base to protect marine resources and Korean vessels from potential conflicts. It will cover half a square kilometer and accommodate 20 Aegis ships. It will also be used as a civilian port, accommodating two 150,000-ton cruise liners at any one time.
The agreement was reached after more than 15 years of debate between the central government and Jeju residents since the Defense Ministry proposed the project in 1993. Local residents and environmental activists say the base could raise regional tensions and damage the ecosystem. Last week, about 300 residents staged a rally against the base and about 40 people continued their protest on Monday.
The ministry said the plan aims to minimize environmental damage while boosting the regional economy. The government plans to start work on the base in December after conducting a survey on the environmental effects of the project.
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