President Moon Jae-in said on Thursday that he will actively consider granting pardons and restoring the civil rights of those affected in the protests against a plan to build a naval base on Jeju Island.
The president made the remarks during his visit to Gangjeong Village after attending an international fleet review that took place in waters off Jeju.
He expressed deep regret about the dispute over the building of a naval base in the village and offered consolation to the residents, saying that there should be procedural and democratic legitimacy even in a matter of national security, but that had not been the case.
The government selected the small fishing town as the site for its naval base in 2007 when Moon was chief of staff for former President Roh Moo-hyun. The plan triggered protests from village residents and activists that the base could destroy the residents' livelihoods and the island's environment. The construction of the Jeju base was completed in 2016.