August 18, 2015

70th Anniversary of Korean Independence/Division Marked


    August 15, 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from the Japanese colonialism, and also the 70th anniversary of Korea’s division into two occupying zones that led to a tragic war and divided states, with seemingly perpetual animosities and conflicts.
    2015 is also the 62nd anniversary of the signing of the Korean War Armistice, an armistice that has not been replaced with permanent peace treaty that will officially end the Korean War. Without a peace treaty i...n place, occasional military confrontations, spiraling arms race, collective suspicions and hostilities ensue without an end in sight.

    On August 15, where numerous events marking the day took place in Korea and overseas, the National Campaign for Peaceful Resolution in Korea also held activities in the DC area (a rally at the White House and a forum at The William Cho Peace Center in Fairfax, VA. The Campaign calls for "the signing of a peace treaty to end the Korean War as a prerequisite first step, and urge the stakeholders and policymakers to engage in negotiations aimed at reduction of tensions that will pave a way for a lasting peace settlement in the Korean Peninsula that includes normalization of relations, nuclear disarmament and conventional arms reduction."

August 3, 2015

More than 500 academics issue statement for peace in Northeast Asia


[From The Hankyureh

More than 500 academics from South Korea, Japan, the US, and Europe released a joint statement calling for the resolution of conflict in Northeast Asia 70 years after South Korea was liberated from Japanese colonial rule and 50 years after South Korea and Japan signed a treaty normalizing their diplomatic relations. The statement, released five years after a similar statement, is called “2015 Joint Statement by Korean, Japanese and International Scholars for East Asia’s Freedom from the Past.”
READ MORE

July 21, 2015

Campaign for Peaceful Settlement in Korea

[Information on a campaign for peace in Korea.]


The National Campaign for Peaceful Settlement in Korea

2015 marks the 70th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from the Japanese colonialism, and also the 70th anniversary of Korea’s division into two occupying zones that led to a tragic war and divided states, with seemingly perpetual animosities and conflicts.  

2015 is also the 62nd anniversary of the signing of the Korean War Armistice, an armistice that has NOT been replaced with a permanent peace treaty that will officially end the Korean War. Without a peace treaty in place, occasional military confrontations, spiraling arms race, collective suspicions and hostilities ensue without an end in sight.

As concerned citizens, we call for the signing of a peace treaty to end the Korean War as a prerequisite first step, and urge the stakeholders and policymakers to engage in negotiations aimed at reduction of tensions that will pave a way for a lasting peace settlement in the Korean Peninsula that includes normalization of relations, nuclear disarmament and conventional arms reduction.

Plan of Actions: (July 20 to August 16, 2015)


Letter-writing campaign to elected officials (local, state, national level)

Korea Peace Advocacy Day on July 24 (visits to the Congress)
Rally on July 26 at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in DC
Rally at the White House on August 15
Symposium at the William Cho Peace Center, Fairfax, VA on August 15
Initiators: National Association of Korean Americans (NAKA), Coalition of Korean Americans (CKA)

Endorsers (As of 7/20/15): Action for One Korea (AOK), ANSWER, Good Friends USA, National Campaign to End the Korean War, Veterans for Peace/Korea Peace Campaign, DC Methodist Church, Ham Seok-hun Society of DC, LA Sasase, Storrs Korean Church UCC, Conn., Washington DC Korean Citizens Academy

May 28, 2015

Marching Towards Peace In Korea


By Tim Shorrock in PoliticoMagazine 

On Sunday [May 24, 2015], Gloria Steinem, looking radiant but tired in a white dress traditionally worn by Korean women, walked into a room packed with reporters and photographers at the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine building in Paju, South Korea, just a mile from the North Korean border.

Gathered around the American feminist icon were 30 women from 15 countries who had just accomplished what only two foreign groups had ever done before—cross the demilitarized zone dividing the communist North from the capitalist South. They were greeted in the south by hundreds of women and peace and unification activists from a country long divided by war and 60 years of tension.  Read more:

May 15, 2015

Korean Atomic Bomb Victims



    Not many know that more than one seventh of WW II atomic bomb victims were Korean colonial subjects, most of whom were forced workers in Japanese military factories during the war. Korean "hibakusha" (atomic bombing survivor) were the forgotten people -- not compensated by the Japanese government when Japanese A-bomb victims were compensated, and neglected by the Korean government, as they were not included in the reparations that Japan gave to South Korea when the two countries normalized relations.  They are forgotten victims of colonialism and war like the military sex slaves ("comfort women"). 

Tourism in North Korea


[From KoreAm, by Mark Edward Harris]

Several years ago, Andrea Lee traded a desk job as a corporate attorney in New York City to head Uri Tours, a New Jersey-based travel company founded by her family a decade ago, which organizes tours to North Korea. As its CEO and occasional tour leader, the 33-year-old Lee helps curious individuals see what life is like north of the 38th parallel on the divided Korean peninsula.
Although widely perceived as a sealed-off nation closed to foreign tourists, North Korea permits group and even private travel by citizens of any country other than South Korea who book through a tourism partner-provider. While the U.S. Department of State strongly recommends against travel by U.S. citizens to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as the country is officially known, there appears to be no adverse impact on Uri’s business. READ MORE

March 14, 2015

Female peace activists say they’ll walk across the DMZ


From The Hankyoreh Newspaper in Seoul, Korea: http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_national/682155.html

Eyes are on Korea after a group of well-known female peace activists announced they will walk across the DMZ on May 24 for peace on the peninsula. The event suggests that women around the world are becoming more involved in the Korean Peninsula, which remains trapped in the Cold War even 70 years after the end of World War II.
In its coverage of the press conference for the event, which was held at the UN headquarters in New York on Mar. 11, the Associated Press said that “prominent women” were “making a dramatic statement in Korean relations.”
Along with two recipients of the Nobel peace prize - Mairead Maguire and Leymah Gbowee - women from a variety of backgrounds will be joining in the walk, including writers, scholars, filmmakers, and humanitarian activists. Most of the 30 participants, who hail from 12 countries, will be paying their travel expenses out of pocket.
Gloria Steinem, 81, regarded as an icon of the women’s movement in the US, drew attention by signing on as honorary co-chair of the event.
Steinem, who played a leading role in the feminist movement in the US in the 1960s and 1970s and was active in social issues and the peace movement after that, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013, the greatest honor that the US President can bestow on a private individual.
Steinem has taken great interest in the event, as her attendance at the press conference suggests. “It’s hard to imagine a more physical symbol of the insanity of dividing human beings than this zone. To me, to walk across it, has huge, huge, huge importance,” Agence France-Presse quoted her as saying.
Steinem’s deep interest in Korean Peninsula issues reportedly goes back to the sad story of a high school friend who was received a draft notice to fight in the Korean War.
“The friend’s father had suffered from trauma in the Second World War, and when he saw his son’s draft notice, he decided he couldn’t allow him to go to war,” explained Chung Hyun-kyung, a professor at New York’s Union Theological Seminary and member of the event’s executive committee. “So he killed his son and then himself.”
“Steinem noted that women had made a big contribution to ending conflict in Northern Ireland and Liberia, and she asked why that wouldn’t work on the Korean Peninsula too,” Chung added.
Abigail Disney, granddaughter of Walt, began making movies after meeting the Liberian female peace activist Leymah Gbowee in 2006. In 2008, she shared the story of the country’s peace movement with “Pray the Devil Back to Hell,” a documentary about Gbowee.
Other participants included Medea Benjamin, co-founded of the leading women’s anti-war group Code Pink, and Ann Wright, a former US Army colonel who resigned from the State Department in 2003 in protest of the Iraq War.
Among the Korean and Korean-American participants joining them were Rutgers University professor Suzy Kim, Korea Policy Institute co-founder Christine Ahn, Chung, and women’s rights activist Kim Ban-a.
Foreign nationals don’t need approval from the South Korean government to visit North Korea, but they would need to apply with the UN Command to pass through the DMZ. Foreign nationals traveling between North and South Korea must pass through South Korean government immigration procedures.
“If we are provided with specific plans, including their course while traveling in North Korea, then it’s a matter for discussion with the relevant agency,” a Unification Ministry official explained.