Women's passion for peace
Amidst heightened tension and sense of crisis on the Korean peninsula thanks to US President Bush's much-reported comment about 'the axis of evil,' Korean women are raising their voices for peace.
Several civic groups including women groups such as Women Making Peace organized a national rally in opposition of Bush's visit to Korea on February 20, calling on the American administration to revise its hard-line stance against North Korea.
On February 15, a few days before the Korea-US summit, 150 women leaders announced a Declaration for Peace. Then starting from February 18, women groups launched a one-man demonstration relay, starting from February 18, in front of the American Embassy, calling for a peaceful resolution of DPRK-US relations. A 90-year-old grandmother took her turn in the relay, showing how passionately Korean women desire peace.
Lee Lee Hyo Jae, KWAU adviser who traveled all the way from Jinhae to participate in the 150 women leaders' Peace Declaration, says, "Before the September 11 terrorist attacks, the peaceful reunification of the two Koreas, the only remaining divided nation after World War II, was considered the key to peace and security in Northeast Asia. But now, reunification has become a dependent variable whose fate hinges on US's attitude towards North Korea." Lee is concerned that "the building of the missile defense structure on the pretext of North Korean threat will heighten tension in Northeast Asia and accelerate the arms race, ultimately destroying world peace."
Lee emphasizes, "It is times like this when we should be all the more willing to aid North Korea's economic development, encouraging the country to seek peaceful means for liberalization and democracy. I'm not saying this simply out of ethnic sympathy. It is for the sake of world peace that we must oppose any kind of terrorism or retaliatory war."
Lee urges President Kim Dae Jung to "speak more actively in favor of the engagement policy, thereby regaining the South Korean government's lead in inter-Korean issues."