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Gangjeong simulation results endorsed by governor, dismissed by protesters
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승인 2013.03.06  12:21:46
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Woo Geun-min backs the results Feb. 4, vowing to "gather energy" for the next stage. Photo courtesy Jeju Special Self Governing Province

The results of the long-awaited simulation tests for the feasibility of the naval base at Gangjeong Village were released on Jan. 31, giving the green light to further construction.

Pro-base advocates now hope the construction plans, which are 15 months behind schedule, can continue unobstructed; protestors, however, have vowed to continue their opposition.

The results show the proposed joint navy base and cruise port at Gangjeong Village can simultaneously accommodate two 15 thousand ton cruise liners with no safety concerns, even in extreme weather conditions.

Specialists conducted a computer simulation at the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology, in Daejeon City, on Jan. 17 and 18. Researchers said they had never before tested comparable vessels under such extreme conditions.

Scientists simulated two 15 thousand ton cruise liners entering and exiting the port in 27 knot winds, while one is moored at the south breakwater, and another enters at the west breakwater. The tests were carried out in secret and critics have challenged their credibility and independence.

Jeju Governor Woo Geun-min fully endorsed the results and supported dual military-civilian use of the base in a special press conference called on 4 Feb. Woo stated: "Once the crucial issue of the controversy has been settled, we must gather energy to materialize our vision for the naval base.”

Woo, however, sought to offset criticism from the anti-base movement by pledging to develop civilian uses of the port and campaign for pardons for protesters arrested in connection with the protest movement.

Protesters at Save Jeju Now called these pledges “sugar-coated words,” claiming: “It is a great deception and betrayal again for the central and Island governments to lie to the people.” Pointing to technical errors they claim invalidate the tests, the protesters vowed to continue the fight on behalf of the Gangjeong Villagers with renewed vigor.

Poll results show that members of the provincial assembly are still deeply divided over the issue: 34 percent believe the right decision was reached; 34 percent believe the decision was wrong; while 29 percent believe it was an inevitability.

Despite the results being hailed triumphantly by pro-base advocates, the dispute is set to continue in the months ahead.

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