We are sad to read of an account of the above ships stopping near the village of Gangjeong on Jeju Island South Korea reported in a newsletter printed by that village.
The article alleges that the RAN ships arrived on Nov 3 2017 and while other ships from other countries stopped around the same time it does imply that the Australian ships are just as culpable. The names of our ships can be clearly seen on protest banners in the photos in the article.
Jeju by the way has been declared an Island of Peace and the presence of our warships greatly offends the people of Jeju and the village of Gangjeong. In January of 2005, the central government officially declared Jeju an ‘Island of World Peace’ and the 70th anniversary of the uprising and US – sponsored massacre of Jeju people by Korean troops and paramilitaries will be celebrated soon.
The Gangjeong Village Newsletter reports “foreign warships come to the navy base for ‘rest and re-supplying’, meaning that they dump their trash and sewage and bus soldiers to big tourist attractions. Jeju is being used like a reward for foreign soldiers for their participation in joint military exercises. The amount of trash already surpasses the island’s infrastructure.” The Australian ships mentioned above must be part of this effort to use Jeju as a garbage dump. Surely Australian ships should behave with more respect for the environment than ships from careless countries such as the US.
The article goes on to allege that Australian ships are not helping to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula in fact the opposite is true. The newsletter goes on: ‘Jeju is being used for port visits by the ships that join frequent joint military exercises, which practice for war and thus make war more likely to happen.’
Australian Navy ships have stumbled into a situation where the reputation of Australia has been tarnished both by being labelled environmental vandals and war mongers. Minister it is about time you reversed Australia’s attitude to the Korean Peninsula and take a more conciliatory approach which has been called the ‘freeze on freeze’ namely no military exercise no missile or nuclear bomb tests. Work for a peace treaty in Korea not war. Your present activities upsets both Koreas.