Illustration: Liu Rui
South Korea's Jeju Island is a popular destination for tourists. But they shouldn’t be so comfortable with their vacations in the future. The South Korean Defence Ministry recently decided to build a naval base on the island. US troops in South Korea will certainly use the naval base as a strategic outpost to contain China and ensure the regional ocean hegemony of the US.
Some South Korean reports state that Jeju will be used as a missile defense base to counter threats from China’s intercontinental ballistic missiles. The base may also be used as part of the conflict between China and South Korea over Suyan Rock, a nearby submerged reef. This shows some South Koreans’ thorough fear of China and that the South Korean government is risking the peace of East Asia to reach its own military objectives.
The South Koreans seem to forget that Jeju Island was named World Peace Island in 2005. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese tourists travel there every year, as it is the nearest place in South Korea from China’s prosperous eastern coastal area. Some Chinese bussinessmen even plan to purchase houses and make long-term investments there. The Korean government did not consider about the feelings of these Chinese tourists and investors.
South Korea is destroying the tourist resources on Jeju Island and changing the natural and human environment of the island, just in order to build a military base and turn the original "peaceful window” into a weapon aimed at its neighbor. I suggest that Chinese tourists boycott the tours to the island and let the "military island” disappear on the map of China’s huge tourism market.
By Lv Chao, the director of the Frontier Research Institute under the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences.