The United Church’s mission and service includes working with partners around the world, such as The Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea. Listen to how our partner is working, like us, to live with respect in Creation.Kang Jeong is a village on the south coast of Jeju Island, South Korea. People in this village are farmers and fishers, tracing their families back 400 years. Jeju is a volcanic island famous for its unique natural features. It is home to a UNESCO World Geological Park.
In 2007, the South Korean Navy decided it needed a military base on Jeju Island. Despite the disapproval of the villagers, the Navy went ahead. The people protested by standing in the way of equipment. The Navy responded by building a high fence around the area, working behind it. When the people took little boats, paddling to the site on their coast, the Navy put razor wire all over the rocks.
Many see the base as bad. It is harming the fish supply and the cleanliness of the water, and it is part of an arms race in Asia that may lead to disastrous conflict. The people reached out to the president, the governor of the island, the minister of defence, and the police chief. No one listened.
In desperation, a group decided to go through the fence. The Rev. Lee Jeong Hoon, a minister of our Korean church partner, helped lead the way, cutting openings for the others to begin cutting the razor wire. The police arrested and quickly released all but the minister and Fr. Kim Jeong—who were sentenced to longer prison terms.
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