After meeting with women leaders in North Korea, the WomenCross DMZ delegation of fifteen international delegates crosses the DMZ to join South Korean women calling for a peace treaty, May 24, 2015, Paju city. (Stephen Wunrow, Korean Quarterly)
Women Cross DMZ congratulates President Moon Jae-in, Chairman Kim Jong-un, and the people of both South Korea and North Korea on the historic Inter-Korean Summit and the Panmunjeom Declaration signed by both leaders on April 27, 2018. We celebrate the Declaration’s breakthrough announcement to the world that “there will be no more war on the Korean Peninsula and thus a new era of peace has begun.” We applaud the courage and wisdom of the Korean leaders in committing to establish a permanent peace regime and a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, which recognizes the aspirations of movements in Korea and worldwide who have long worked for peace.
Three years ago, we joined 10,000 Korean women, North and South, as we walked on the streets of Pyongyang, Kaesong and Paju calling for an end to the Korean War with a Peace Treaty, for the reuniting of families, and for women’s leadership in the peace process. Today, the two Korean leaders have brought us closer to this vision and set forth an unprecedented peace process.
We applaud the two Koreas’ pursuit of dialogue with the United States and China to achieve the formal end of the Korean War by replacing the temporary ceasefire agreement with a Peace Treaty and thus establishing a permanent peace regime. We are inspired by the decision to transform the DMZ, so long a symbol of separation and enmity, into a Peace Park, and the West Sea, the site of violent skirmishes, into a Maritime Peace Zone.
We laud the Declaration’s commitment to “realizing, through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula” and to pursuing the support and cooperation of the international community in this endeavor. We stress the global significance of this commitment, given that the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula would be not only crucial for peace in Korea but also pivotal to the total elimination of nuclear weapons from our world. We recognize the extensive multilateral diplomatic work ahead that will be necessary in order to achieve such denuclearization, and also the international commitments needed for ensuring peace in Korea, given North Korea pursued its nuclear weapons program as a deterrent against threats to its own security. As such, we commit as a global civil society movement to galvanize the support and cooperation of the international community towards ensuring that the need for nuclear weapons will remain only in the past.
We welcome the Declaration’s announced resumption of civil-society exchanges on June 15, the anniversary of the 2000 Joint Korean Declaration, and family reunions on August 15, the commemoration of National Liberation Day in both Koreas. As an international peace organization calling for women’s inclusion in all levels of the peace building process, we are pleased to see that each delegation included a woman leader. Yet given the overwhelming evidence of the constructive role women’s peace movements play in helping to realize peace agreements — and far more durable ones — we urge the two governments to include the significant participation of women leaders in the official peace process.
Peace processes are more than about halting a war and dividing power and resources – they establish the foundation for a postwar society. When women’s groups are involved in the official peace process, the prospects for lasting peace are far greater because women influence its implementation. Furthermore, women’s perspectives, especially on gender equality and gender-based violence, are crucial to shaping how security is defined. When women are empowered in all aspects of their lives, countries are less likely to go to_war.
As a U.S.-based organization with members around the world, Women Cross DMZ is committed to mobilizing women across the United States and on every continent to support the inter-Korean peace process now underway to the final resolution of the Korean War.
One year ago, we wrote to President Trump reminding him that, “Peace is the most powerful deterrent of all” and urging him to do what no other U.S. president has done: bring a formal closure to the longest-standing U.S. conflict. One year later, President Trump said, “We hope to see the day when the whole Korean Peninsula can live together in safety, prosperity and peace. This is the destiny of the Korean people.” We look forward to President Trump’s historic meeting with Chairman Kim and their building on the momentum established by the Inter-Korean Summit by taking concrete action towards the signing of a Peace Treaty. The two leaders have the power to end decades of enmity and sow the seeds of friendship between the people of the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The April 27, 2018 Inter-Korean Summit will be remembered as the beginning of a new chapter in Korean history, the de-militarization of the Korean Peninsula, and a beacon of light, hope and peace for the world.