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Possible Direct Dialogue Between Chong Wa Dae and Buan Residents

Possible Direct Dialogue Between Chong Wa Dae and Buan Residents

Posted November. 30, 2003 23:01,   


It appears that two parties, the government and the residents of Buan -- which have confronted each other over the issue of the construction of a nuclear waste disposal facility -- will possibly start negotiations within this week as both sides are showing a will towards a resolution.

The residents of Buan staged a nonviolent rally on November 29 and the police declared its plan to gradually pull back its riot force in the region. Also, the civic groups and the political arena are showing their continuous efforts to arbitrate the dispute. The government also shows a willingness to break the deadlock.

Peaceful state is restored: On November 29 the Buan residents’ massive rally against the designation of Buan as the nuclear dumpsite ended peacefully. Held in front of the Buan National Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives at 3 p.m., the rally included cultural activities, a candlelight vigil, and firing of firecrackers. More than 10,000 participants -- including the residents of Buan and delegate of the Korean Confederation of Trade Union, the Democratic Labor Party, and the Korean Farmers League -- joined the rally which ended around 6:30 p.m. that day.

The participants declared, “Let’s go back to work after holding a vote and ending the dispute within this year.”

Kim Jin-won, the head of Buan Residents Committee, said, “After taking back the Democratic Square in front of the Fishery Cooperative from the police force that was avoided since November 19, we held a candlelight vigil and a peaceful rally. This time the residents showed a mature strike consciousness.”

The police withdrew some of its riot forces that were dispatched after the violent rally on November 19 to crack down on the nighttime rallies in the outskirts of the downtown Buan area -- leaving the security guards for the government and public offices. Though the police plan to stop nighttime rallies, it is considering gradually withdrawing the dispatched 8,000 police officials of 77 companies this week.

The police forbid the nighttime rallies in the region but the committee is planning to have a candlelight vigil during the night of November 30 so it can bring about the clash of the residents and the police again.

Resuming the dialogue: The residents’ committee’s concerns about the increasing damage to the residents have increased. The committee evaluated its campaign’s outcome highly, quoting the president’s comment: “If the residents don’t welcome the nuclear dump plan, there’s no other choice.” Thus, the committee thinks that the upcoming peace rallies on December 6 and 13 will suffice as preparation for an upcoming vote.

The peaceful resolution mood has been shaping up as the two parties are increasingly ignoring their differences. The residents’ committee interpreted the situation: “With the police pulling back, it creates a mood for a peaceful resolution.” The committee also said the government shows the position of “putting security first and then resuming talks.”

It is reported that the government will accept the residents’ proposal to establish a joint consultation body composed of two related government ministries of Chong Wa Dae and two resident representatives to discuss how and when to hold a resident opinion poll, as well as other various solutions.