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The Momentum for Peace Is Building

July 12, 2019
Dear Friends,
 
Amazing news! Last night, the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of Rep. Ro Khanna's amendment calling for a formal end to the Korean War. It was the first time Congress has ever taken a stand on the issue — a clear sign that the American people want an end to this conflict, and that ending decades of hostilities is the only way to resolve the nuclear crisis.

We're building momentum for peace on the Korean Peninsula.
 
While President Trump’s recent meeting with Kim Jong Un at the DMZ has been criticized for being nothing more than a “photo op” — or worse, legitimating the North Korean government — we saw this development as a much-needed breakthrough in U.S.-North Korea diplomacy, which had stalled after the Hanoi summit ended abruptly in February.  
 
Through op-eds, interviews, and social media, we have been sharing our message that this is a positive step toward peace. And as I wrote in an op-ed for Newsweek, now that high-level trust has been established, it’s time for reliable, sustained diplomacy to end the seven-decade Korean War. And, of course, women must be included in the peace process.
 
For more about why we shouldn’t dismiss the talks, check out this just-published op-ed in TIME magazine co-authored by me, feminist pioneer Gloria Steinem, Nobel Peace laureate Jody Williams, award-winning filmmaker Abigail Disney, and Korean historian Suzy Kim!
 
In other exciting news: I’m pleased to announce that we’ve added Elizabeth Beavers to our team to help us with our DC advocacy and strategy around H.Res. 152. Beavers, an attorney, most recently served as associate policy director for the Indivisible Project, a movement of thousands of local groups working to pressure their members of Congress. Her expertise and brilliance have already proven invaluable to our work. Check out this interview she did with Newsy. We’re so lucky to have her on board!
 
Women Cross DMZ’s Christine Ahn (front row, far left), Hyun Lee (back row, second from right) and Elizabeth Beavers (back row, far right) meet with Moon Chung-in (front row, center; President Moon’s top advisor on North Korea), Parliamentarians from South Korea, and others in Washington, DC, on June 18, 2019.
Here’s what else we’ve been up to in the last month:
  • Women Cross DMZ and the other core partners of Korea Peace Now! released a joint statement calling on Presidents Trump and Moon to work together with Chairman Kim Jong Un to conclude a peace agreement formally ending the Korean War.
  • On May 24, International Women’s Day for Peace and Disarmament, we sent a letter to President Trump, Chairman Kim, and President Moon urging them to end the war and declare a new era of peace, halt military exercises and weapons testing, and resume dialogue toward demilitarizing the Korean Peninsula and the lifting of sanctions, which are hurting ordinary North Koreans. (Tomás Ojea Quintana, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in North Korea, also supports the gradual lifting of sanctions on North Korea, saying, “Sanctions shouldn’t be used as a punitive instrument.”)
  • Meanwhile, our U.S. National Organizer Hyun Lee has been busy organizing Korea Peace Now! chapters across the country. On June 4, the Boston chapter held a forum to discuss the current state of peace in Korea.
(From left to right): Sanghwan Lim, Joseph Gerson of the Campaign for Peace, Disarmament, and Common Security, Keumjoo Lee, Paul Shannon, Cole Harrison, and Seung Hee Jeon participated in a forum on Korea peace in Boston, Mass., on June 4, 2019.
Also in June, our coalition of women peacebuilders met with members of Congress and a delegation of South Korean Parliamentarians in Washington, DC, to build support for H.Res. 152, which calls for an end to the Korean War.

We also sat down individually with senior officials from the Trump and Moon administrations and with the DPRK Mission to the United Nations. We discussed ways our network of women can support the peace process, especially given the evidence that women’s participation leads to more durable peace agreements. What was clear was the desire by all for a diplomatic breakthrough.
 
Women Cross DMZ’s Kathleen Richards, Elizabeth Beavers, Hyun Lee, and Christine Ahn met with U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun and North Korea Desk Officer Tristan Allen at the State Department on June 17, 2019, in Washington, DC.
Then, in New York, we strategized for our global campaign, learned from experts such as Dr. Kee Park of Harvard Medical School, and strengthened our coalition.
Members of Women Cross DMZ and the Korea Peace Now! Global Action Team strategize in New York on June 20-21, 2019.
On June 28, I gave a presentation via video for the 41st UN Human Rights Council Side Event: “Korea Women, South & North: Peace, Family Strengths, Rights & Development” organized by Women’s UN Report Network and Women’s Federation for World Peace. You can watch it here

We’re continuing to build space for peace. On July 27, the 69th anniversary of the armistice signing, we’ll be organizing events around the country. That day, I’ll be speaking in Los Angeles at an event with Joy Yoon, who spent more than a decade in North Korea as a humanitarian worker. Check here for more details on this exciting event.
 
As always, keep informed of our activities by following us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
 
In solidarity,
 
Christine Ahn
Executive Director

P.S.
Mark your calendars: On November 8-10, members of Women Cross DMZ and Korea Peace Now! will host a roundtable session at the upcoming conference on sustainable peacebuilding at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. For more information, click here. We hope to see you there!

 

MEDIA

Trump Has Been Unrealistic About His Talks With North Korea. Here's Why We Shouldn't Dismiss the Meetings Altogether
MORE MEDIA:

Peace With North Korea Should Be a Priority for US Progressives [Truthout op-ed by Christine Ahn, 7/1/19]
 
Yes, The Trump-Kim DMZ Meeting Was A Breakthrough. Here Is What Should Come Next [Newsweek op-ed by Christine Ahn, 7/1/19] 
 
Christine Ahn interview on Flashpoints [KPFA, 7/1/19]

It’s Time to Formally End the Korean War [The National Interest op-ed by Christine Ahn, 7/3/19]
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