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Communications on May 11, 2001

2009.08.24 10:57

Views:8554

◎ Priests to Continue Campaign Against Saemangum Reclamation Project

As the Korean government has been at odds over making a final decision on one of Korea's most controversial environmental issues in recent years, the Saemangum reclamation project on the west coast of Jeollabuk-do and facing strong objection of local people and environmental organizations, the Justice and Peace Committee of the Diocese of Chonju(Pres.: Rev. Kim Jin-ryong) made public its official position regarding the Project by calling a press conference on May 5.
In the statement the Justice and Peace Committee urged the government "Not to rush to make final decision of the project but to make first a scientific and professional research with enough time."
"The Saemangum reclamation project was wrong from the beginning, however, it is not too late to stop now. Regarding use of the sea wall already constructed, the government must decide through a consensus of people after having heard opinions of local residents, environmental experts and organizations".
The Saemangum reclamation project first initiated in 1991 aimed at turning 40,100 hectares of mud flats in the Saemangum region of Jeollabuk-do into 28,300 hectares of farmland, as well as gaining a freshwater lake for irrigation.

"If the reclamation plan is carried out the tidal flats, an important habitat for migratory birds in the region will disappear," an environmental activist said.
Meantime, the Association of Major Superiors of Religious Women in Korea, Korean Priests Association for Justice including many other Church organizations, environmentalists, farmers and fisher's organizations, groups for human rights have continued to struggle against the project and to call for its suspension, claiming it will harm the environment severly, such as the precious tidal flats in the region.
Father Moon Kyu-hyon, Permanent representative of the Solidarity of Life and Peace of Saemanbum Beach, announced One-Week of Sea Coast March from May 13-19 to protest the Project. Inhabitants of Buan, college students, environmental activists and religion people are expected to participate in the march.
"It is our duty and right to protect the creation and enjoy God's creation with all creation of God," they said.
Saemangum beach is known for most rich production of shellfish and the region of migrant birds.
The environmentalists proposed to make the Semangum beach an echo-tourist site.



◎Cardinal Kim and Members of the Peace Forum Urge Support of the International Community for Peace on the Korean Peninsula

On May 8, some 120 members of the Peace Forum including His Eminence Stephen Cardinal Kim and Rev. Kang Won-ryong, Protestant Minister, sent a letter to about 60 prominent figures in the world including Bush, the President of the United States, U.S. Lawmakers and academic people in overseas and asked for a collaboration of them for peace on the Korean peninsula by supporting the engagement policy toward North Korea and the second South-North summit talks.
Prior to delivering the Letter to the US Embassy the Peace Forum held a press conference at the Press Center in central Seoul and made public a Recommendation to the US government expressing Korean people's wish that the Bush administration's plan for the missile defense system not to be an obstacle for the peace on the Korean peninsula.
Members of the Peace Forum insisted over the need of quick resumption of Washington-Pyeongyang talks on missile based on the Basic Agreement between the North Korea and the United States of America and asked the Bush administration to seek for a positive stance to bring the North Korea to the international participation.
The Letter was signed by Cardinal Kim, Ven. Song Wol-ju, former President of Korean Chogye Order, and Soh Yong-hoon, President of Korean Red Cross and some other prominent figures.

Meantime, the civil coalition for Peace Against the National Missile Defense(NMD) and the Theater Missile Defense(TMD) formed by 42 launched, on May 9, protests against the visit of U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage who came to Seoul to tell South Korean officals on Bush's missile shield project.
The Coalition held a press conference at Incheon International Airport timed with Armitage's arrival.
"The U.S. must immediately give up efforts to promote its MD project, which is threatening peace on the Korean peninsula. We oppose to visit by Armitage to Korea, which is aimed at persuading Korea to accept Bush's defense plan and force the purchase of arms related to Theater Missile Defense(TMD)," protesters said, adding that the Kim Dae-jung administration should state its clear opposition to the MD project as well as the Bush's administration's hard-line policy toward North Korea.
Protesters held a street march in central part of Seoul and kicked off a relay of one-man demonstrations in front of the U.S. Embassy and the Hyatt Hotel in Hannam-dong, where Armitage was staying, by taking turns.
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