South Korea's central government and the provincial government of Jeju on Monday reached a preliminary agreement on a naval base construction on Jeju Island by 2014, officials said.
According to the Ministry of National Defense, Defense Minister Lee Sang-hee and Jeju Governor Kim Tae-hwan signed a joint agreement to build a naval base which would simultaneously be used as a civilian port.
The agreement came after a 15-year-long debate over the plan as residents and activists stood firmly against the construction, saying it could raise regional military tension and disrupt the ecosystem on the island.
About 300 locals held a protest rally last week, arguing the government unilaterally decided to build the naval base.
Despite of resistance, development will begin in December this year, with the ministry promising that the plan would minimize environmental damage and contribute to national security and the local economy.