The Washington Times published a great article on the little-known topic of the Jeju Island naval base, but it contains one oft-repeated statement that should be corrected (“U.S. base tests dueling interests in S. Korea,” Page I, Thursday).
Thepiecereads, “The port’s civilian facilities will be able to accommodate ocean liners of up to 150,000 tons, compared with the island’s current wharves, which can handle vessels of up to 80,000 tons.”
In the summer of 2012, the Cheju Port expansion project will have been completed. The Ministry of Land, Transportation and Maritime Affairs has stated that the maximum capacity of this port will be 80,000 tons. Still, the leading international cruise line company Royal Caribbean recently announced that its massive cruise ship Voyager of the Seas, weighing 137,276 tons, will be able to dock in a new Cheju Port on the north shore.
The South Korean navy is determined to link the Jeju Island naval base to tourism. In an effort to mislead Jeju residents, the base is being portrayed as the only means for large cruise ships to dock on Jeju, an island that is heavily dependent on tourism. The linking of economic prosperity on a modest island with the military is a questionable sales angle, especially when compared to the truth about Jeju’s overall port capacity.
The naval-base port, located on the southern side of the island, has a completion date set for 2015, meaning it will be redundant and is not the only option for large cruise liners. This runs contrary to claims made by the South Korean government and military.
Campaign to Save Jeju Island