Navy report: Jeju naval base to accommodate US nuclear submarine

Posted on : 2012-10-18 11:08 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
Recently acquired documents raise questions about Gangjeong Village as a joint civil-military harbor
 at Pearl Harbor
at Pearl Harbor

By Ha Eo-young, staff reporter

A Navy report from 2009 states that the water depth for a naval base currently under construction on Jeju Island was designed to accommodate a US nuclear submarine.

This latest revelation comes on the heels of allegations that the base was designed to allow a US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to make port.

Document 06-520, titled “Basic Plan and Examination Request Basic Plan Report” was acquired from naval headquarters by Democratic United Party lawmaker Kim Kwang-jin. It states in its harbor facility requirement standards section that the “overall depth of the submarine dock was set at 12 meters at the request of the orderer.”

This design depth suggests the base was planned to accommodate the US nuclear-powered SSN-776 submarine, since a depth of 9.3 meters would be adequate for South Korean submarines. This means that the base was designed around a vessel that the South Korean Navy does not current possess, and has no plans to possess.

“The Ministry of National Defense said there were no demands from CNFK [the Commander of US Naval Forces Korea], but from this design it appears that the South Korean government took it upon itself to make [the harbor] big enough for a US warship that might never dock there, without even being asked to,” said Kim.

“If it is built this way, we can’t even guarantee that it will be a South Korean military base, let alone a civil harbor,” he added. The South Korean government previously said the base was being designed as a joint civil-military harbor.

“Suppose the US military comes to Jeju with a nuclear-power aircraft carrier,” Kim continued. “How can we reasonably guarantee that civilians can freely use it for ‘tourism’?”

This is not the first accusation that the Jeju base is being built to US military standards. Previously, observers pointed to phrasing about “water depth meeting the 15.2 m standards of CFNK” in facility construction specifications published by naval headquarters in 2010 as evidence that the base was being tailored to CFNK demands.

“The report was a pamphlet based on documents submitted by the company that performed the study,” said a Navy official. “The client in it is obviously the Navy.”

“The design is a preemptive step to allow all submarines above a certain size to make port, not just a US nuclear-powered submarine,” the official added.


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