Steps toward Korean reunification ?
Currently, one of the big South Korean news is that, last Friday, the government allowed the Women’s Peace March across the DMZ.
Let me explain more in details: on Friday 15th of May 2015, South Korea gave the go-ahead at WomenCrossDMZ organisation to cross the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in order to reach North Korea’s capital Pyongyang. WomenCrossDMZ received the North Korean's permission last month and were waiting until this Friday for South Korean's one. The South Korean Unification Ministry indeed decided to give them the permission, allowing the women to cross the border between the two Koreans on Sunday 24 of May, which is the International Women’s day for Disarmament.
WomenCrossDMZ video presentation
Who composed WomenCrossDMZ?
WomenCrossDMZ is composed by a group of 30 women, essentially by women’s rights activists or feminists. Among the participants, we can mention the two Nobel Peace laureates Mairead Maguire and Leymah Gbowee.
Members of WomenCrossDMZ
What are the main aims of the walk?
The main aim of their act is a call for peace between the two Koreas and their reunification. Because, technically, North and South Korea are still in war: in fact, after 1953, Korean War end, but there was no peace treaty signed.
Their walk also marks the 70th anniversary of the Korean peninsula division into South and North Korea. This anniversary makes their act stronger because it marks a new year of division.
Once arrived in Pyongyang and after their return in Seoul, women plan to hold a Peace symposium in order that they can share their experiences and mobilize Koreans for peace. They will create some speaking time between organisation’s members and North and South Koreans citizens in order to learn about their issues.
But, because border crossing are uncommon and rare (the last date of 2013 where 5 New Zealanders were allowed to cross it on motorbikes) and also because the DMZ is the most militarised and controlled border in entire world, South Korea fixed some rules. The Unification Ministry said for example, that it will not allow women to pass through Panmunjon and ask WomenCrossDMZ to pass by Gyeongui Road, which is an inter-Korean passage recognized by the two countries. The problem with the Panmunjon’s way is that it is more complicated and requires numerous permission, in particular one from United Nations Command. But, WomenCrossDMZ members do not agree with this decision and insist for passing through Panmunjom, which symbolize for them an important symbol of the Korean’s division. This none agreement between South Korea and WomenCrossDMZ is still break off, but Women seem really determined to cross the city.
Sources :KoreanHerald, KoreanJoongangDaily, CBSnew and WomenCrossDMZ.org
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