Seoul’s plan to build a naval base in the southern island of Jeju faced opposition, particularly from the island’s residents.
The island is strategically located at the maritime crossroads of China, Japan and North Korea is preferable for a naval base should tensions in the Korean peninsula rise provoked by the North.
The $970 million base would be home to 20 warships and submarines on its completion in 2014. The plan has formed a great divide among Jeju residents – yellow flags outside homes means they are against the naval base.
The opposition also affected markets as customers based their choice of supermarkets on their views on the base. Jeju island is a tourist spot in South Korea. Residents fear that the island’s beauty will be destroyed. Hwang Ki Chul, vice admiral at the Korean Navy, said “this is an important national project that will not only serve national security interests but also help in the development on Jeju Island. It should no longer be a political issue.”