Ending the naval base dispute

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Ending the naval base dispute

A group of engineering experts confirmed that the new naval base in Gangjeong village on Jeju Island is capable of accommodating two 150,000-ton super-size cruise ships at the same time.

A task force composed of experts recommended by the central government and Jeju Provincial Government announced that simulation studies showed that the naval base could serve as a port for two cruise ships of that size at the same time even under extreme weather conditions. The study was carried out at the request of the provincial government amid persistent doubts and protests from residents and activists against the ongoing construction of a new multipurpose naval base on the resort island in southern Korea.

The study will help Jeju Gov. Woo Keun-min better persuade residents and accelerate the construction, which has been running behind schedule due to the endless demonstrations. But activists vow to continue their campaign to stop the construction that they claim could jeopardize the rich environmental heritage of the volcanic island.

The study showed that two 150,000-ton cruise ships could arrive and dock separately, night or day and in stormy weather conditions with winds of up to 13.8 meters (15 yards) per second. Lee Dong-sup, head of the Korea Institute of Navigation and Port Research, who led the study, said that never in his 20 years of research has he tested ship simulations in such extreme weather conditions.

Currently, protesters are basically antigovernment. They have campaigned against the project on various grounds - environmental hazards, procedural problems and a lack of consensus from residents. Construction has been stopped more than 10 times since groundbreaking in 2010, and the whole project is now more than 15 months behind schedule. In approving this year’s budget spending, the National Assembly demanded three conditions be met. They have all been met or will soon be resolved.

The multipurpose complex, which will serve as a haven for both commercial vessels and warships, is essential for the country’s maritime sovereignty and deterrence of outside threats. The persistent opposition and interruptions cost a great deal of damage to the country both financially and in terms of credibility. We hope the study can help end the boisterous disputes that have delayed a national project of significance.
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