Maritime police block civic activists as they try to swim toward Gureombi Seashore from a port near Gangjeong Village in Seogwipo, Jeju Island, Friday. The blasting of the Gureombi rock bed for the construction of a naval base has ignited protests across the country. / Korea Times photo by Kim Joo-sung
Adm. Choi Yun-hee, the Navy’s chief of staff, filed a complaint with the prosecution Friday against Kim Ji-yoon, a proportional representative candidate for the Unified Progressive Party, for defaming the Navy.
The complaint was made after Kim referred to the naval base as a “pirate base.” On her Twitter account, she posted Wednesday, “Let’s oppose the Jeju pirate base to protect Gangjeong” the village on Jeju Island where the naval base is being built.
The Navy filed a complaint with the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office against Kim under the name of the Navy’s chief of staff.
“Kim has groundlessly claimed that the naval base would threaten the safety of the Southeast Asian region. She described the naval base as a pirate base and South Korea’s Navy as pirates. She seriously damaged the honor of the Navy as a whole,” Choi said in the complaint.
The rare complaint by the Navy’s chief of staff against Kim underlines the escalating conflict between the military and progressive civic groups over the construction of the base in Gangjeong Village.
Under the supervision of the Navy, construction companies blasted rocky areas to make way for a caisson and other structures to build docks for a third day on Friday amid protests from environmental and religious groups.
Separately, independent lawmaker Kang Yong-seok filed another one with the prosecution against Kim for the same reason as Choi.
Kim said she did not describe the Navy as “pirates,” saying that it was a metaphoric expression for the description of what is taking place on the island.
“I just used pirate to describe what’s been done by the government and Navy on the island. I’ve never called naval sailers pirates,” she told Yonhap News Agency. “The military authorities are distorting the meaning of my words.”