Issues of Peace on the Korean Peninsula and the Role of Women's Peace Movement
- Peace in Northeast Asia from the Perspective of Korean Women -

Hahn Jeong Sook
Board member of Women Making Peace
Professor of Seoul National University


Since the end of Japanese imperialist occupation(1910-1945), the Korean Peninsula  has been divided against its people's will. It has witnessed the establishment of a single government in each divided side, the Korean war, an armistice and extreme confrontations between the two Koreas during the Cold War. A cold war still lingers on the Peninsula even after the real one has ended at the global level. A divided Korea and the overcoming of this cold war on the Peninsula are not just issues merely concerning South and North Korea. This situation should be resolved to secure peace in the entire Northeast Asian region and eventually, the world.
   At the root of these issues lie neighbor countries' interests, and the sympathetic and understanding attitudes by the neighbors are indispensable prerequisite in settling peace on the Peninsula. For example, the United States (as the commander's country for the Army of the United Nations which participated in the Korean War on behalf of South Korea ) along with China and North Korea were the parties involved in the armistice treaty concluded at the end of the Korean War. Japan was the instigator causing the eventual division of the Peninsula, having forced people of Korea to experience imperial rule and World War II. And Russia was the country that temporarily occupied the northern part of  Korea after World War II and kept a close relationship with North Korea during the Cold War. That is why cooperation of these countries are crucial for settling peace on the Korean Peninsula. On the other hand, peace on the Peninsula is essential for securing peace for all the mentioned countries. Tensions on the Peninsula would bring about tensions and arms buildup in the entire region of Northeast Asia. 
   The hostile relationship between South Korea and North Korea during the Cold War improved dramatically thanks to the South's "Sunshine Policy" which was taken after the Cold War on the global dimension ended. However, the relationship has again turned sour since early 2008 with the Six-Party Talks aimed to resolve North Korea's nuclear weapons program stalling; thus, new efforts are needed to vitalize this forum, to make meaningful progress. and eventually to settle peace on the Peninsula and in Northeast Asia.
  And in these efforts, the role of women is vital. Women as a group have been and are being targeted first and victimized the most, when peace is threatened. Women yearn for peace for themselves and for others. These characteristics of women are easily seen throughout the history of the world in which women continued to engage in peace efforts. Women's leading and active efforts are important in resolving international tensions. The women's peace movement in South Korea has also been active for many years and Northeast Asian Women's Peace Conference is one of the visible results of these efforts.         
   In this presentation, I would like to touch on changes in inter-Korean relations, the current situation of the women's peace movement in Korea, and finally propose specific tasks for women's peace movements. 

1. The situation on the Korean Peninsula, unfolding of inter-Korean relations and international relations surrounding Korean Peninsula

(1) Inter-Korean relations and unfolding of North Korea Korean nuclear weapons program  

1) Changes in inter-Korean relations 
South-North Korean relations had been continued to be confrontational after the Korean War but a change was brought about in the 1970's when an atmosphere of detente dominated international politics. In 1972, the first inter-Korean Red Cross talks were held and a joint statement(7. 4. statement) expressing the wish for peaceful reunification was released, which reflected the will of the highest leaders of both Koreas. The joint statement called for three principles of reunification: independence, peace and cooperation.          
  When the Cold War at the global level finally ended after easing in the late 1980's and the early 1990's, inter-Korean relations were at a crossroads. Upon the establishment of formal diplomatic ties with Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union, which was the suzerain state that pursued socialism, South Korean government sought for change in its relationship with North Korea. In 1991 South Korea and North Korea signed the Agreement on Reconciliation, Non-aggression, Exchanges and Cooperation. This important document for reconciliation and cooperation between the two Koreas was significant in that it was signed under South Korean President Noh Tae-Woo who was a conservative politician with military background.            
   Relations of South Korea and North Korea were rather tense under President Kim Young-Sam who had been a more liberally inclined conservative politician compared with the two former presidents of South Korea with military experience. The first North Korea nuclear crisis came about during 1993 to 1994 when tensions ran high on the Korean Peninsula and ended with the conclusion of the Geneva Agreement between North Korea and the United States. Immediately after the conclusion of this Agreement, the leader of North Korea, Kim Il Sung died and his son, Kim Jung Il came into power in North Korea.      
   After the inauguration in February 1998, President Kim Dae-Jung of South Korea actively implemented the "Sunshine policy" in dealings with North Korea. Two years later in June 2000, the South President Kim Dae-Jung met with The North's Defence  Committee Chairman Kim Jung IL in Pyongyang and adopted the June 15 Joint Declaration. This document became the basis for active public and private exchanges between the two Koreas such as the Mt. Kumgang tour that started during the Kim Dae-Jung administration. The second North Korea nuclear crisis came when  North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) in October 2002 but not much concern was raised on a possible war between the two Koreas.      
    President Noh Moo-Hyun continued and developed the sunshine policy adopted by the former President Kim Dae-Jung after he took office with his "Participatory Government" in February 2003 and called this policy, the "Peace and Prosperity" policy. The Six-Party Talks began in August 2003 to resolve North Korea's nuclear weapons program with the United States, China, Russia and Japan joining. Military tensions were at the highest in Northeast Asia when North Korea launched ballistic missiles off in its eastern coast in June 2006 and subsequently detonated a nuclear bomb for testing in October. Nonetheless, people to people and commercial exchanges continued. Inter-Korean economic cooperation even expanded including the Kaesong Industrial Park Project. In October 2007, President Noh met Chairman Kim for the second summit in Pyongyang and signed the peace declaration on October 17, 2007.
  In short, for inter-Korean relations, DPRK (the Democratic People's Republic of Korea: North Korea) and South Korea's Participatory Government sought to expand human and commercial exchanges based on dialogue and cooperation and kept the framework of the Six-Party Talks emphasizing dialogue among the relevant countries in resolving North Korea's nuclear weapons program.   

2) Unfolding of the nuclear program of North Korea 
 After the second North Korean nuclear crisis in October 2002 international efforts to resolve North Korea's nuclear program, which is at the center of discourse for securing peace on the Korean Peninsula, can be summed up as following. 
 - The relevant countries initiated the Six-Party Talks after the second crisis and declared the September 19 joint statement in Fall of 2006, specifically calling for North Korea to abandon its nuclear program.  
 - Another crisis came about when North Korea carried on with its nuclear testing when the Banco Delta Asia financial sanctions were imposed immediately after the September 19 Joint Statement was released. The Six-Party Talks member countries overcame this crisis and adopted the Initial Actions Agrement on February 13, 2007 toward the implementation of this September 19 Joint Statement. The main point of the Agreement was for North Korea to shut down and seal the Youngbyon nuclear facilities in exchange for the lifting of BDA sanctions.            
 - The second phase agreement was reached on October 3, 2007. On North Korea was imposed the obligation to completely disable its nuclear facilities and to provide a "complete and correct declaration of all its nuclear program" by the end of 2007 in exchange for the US measure to remove North Korea's status as a state sponsor of terrorism and to end legal and institutional sanctions such as applying the Trading with the Enemy Act (TWEA) to North Korea. 
 - Despite the fact that North Korea did not declare its nuclear program as scheduled, North Korea and the US continued to meet (The Singapore agreement on April 8) to go around touchy issues such as the uranium enrichment program (UEP) and North Korea-Syria nuclear connection.  
 - The second phase was completed when restrictions against North Korea under TWEA were lifted and North Korea was removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism (June 26, 2008)     
 - The foundation was laid to enter into the third phase toward the abandonment of all existing nuclear weapons and programs almost six years after the second North Korean nuclear crisis. 
 (2) The Role of USA in the Past during the North Korean Nuclear Crisis
Here, I will examine the role of the United States during the North Korean Nuclear Crisis. USA is an important independent variable in securing peace on the Korean Peninsula. Policy toward North Korea did not differ significantly between South Korea and the US before 1990 but went different directions in some cases starting  from the early 1990's. When the first North Korean nuclear crisis came about, the Clinton administration of the US and the Kim Young-Sam government of South Korea reacted differently in which the former wanted to appease North Korea, whereas the latter took a hard line. The US resorted to the Geneva Agreement to resolve the first North Korean nuclear crisis of 1994 where on North Korea was imposed the obligation to stop its nuclear weapons development program and agree to international inspection of its nuclear facilities in return for the US measure to guarantee security for North Korea's regime and build a light water reactor for North Korea. On the contrary the attitude of Kim Young-Sam administration was rather confrontational against Communists North Korea.         
  On the other hand, the Kim Dae-Jung administration that was started in early 1998 in South Korea adopted the same policy toward North Korea as the Clinton administration. The Perry Process was implemented to resolve North Korea's nuclear program and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright visited North Korea. Thus, by the end of the Clinton administration, the US-North Korea relationship developed to a point where the two almost established formal diplomatic ties. However, it soured again when President George W. Bush took office. In January 2002 in his State of the Union Address, President Bush named North Korea as one of the three "axis of evil", and North Korea responded with strong rhetorics against the US.
   The second North Korean nuclear crisis came in October 2002 when North Korea was suspected of starting its nuclear weapons development program again. The US demanded North Korea to abandon its nuclear program first whereas North Korea asserted that it would not come to the negotiation table unless the US and North Korea sign a treaty of nonaggression. The South's Participatory Government wanted to resolve the matter through dialogue but there was a policy gap between South Korea  and the US.
   Recently US President Obama and his East Asia policy advisors are stepping toward dialogue with North Korea. North Korea should take advantage of this opportunity by acting in concert with the changing atmosphere and accepting wholeheartedly the talk proposals of USA. The two countries should overcome mutual mistrust and walk toward dialogue and compromise. It is the way to contribute to the establishment of peace in Northeast Asia.  
(3) Changes in inter-Korean relations under the Lee Myung-Bak Administration

1) North Korean policy of the Lee Myung-Bak administration 
During his campaign, people expected that the president candidate Mr. Lee Myung-Bak would use, once elected as president, a practical policy toward North Korea. That means he was expected to continue on with the existing policy of resolving various issues with North Korea through dialogue.  After he took office,   president Lee suggested the following policy:      
The basis of the South's policy toward North Korea: Non-nuclear, openness, 3000 
 - Non-nuclear: No progress would be made in inter-Korean relations unless North Korea abandons its nuclear program first.
 - Openness: South Korea demands North Korea to improve its human rights situation and she emphasizes reciprocity in the relations of two Koreas. 
 - 3000 : South Korea supports North Korea to reach a $3,000 per capita income. 

Reciprocity is the underlining principle in this policy. The President Lee Myung-Bak's view toward North Korea is that North Korea would receive assistance based on North Korea's abolition of nuclear program, the improvement of its human rights conditions, and cooperation between South Korea and the US. The principle of reciprocity is strictly applied to the point that even humanitary aid was stopped. Lee administration takes the position that inter-Korean economic cooperation would progress according to the degree how much North Korea abandons its nuclear program and how open it becomes.
2) Tightening of inter-Korean relations and new signs 
When South Korea did not carry out what was promised in the June 15 and October 4 Declarations, North Korea stopped dialogue with South Korea but only wanted to talk with the US. And people to people exchanges were stopped after a South Korean tourist was shot to death while on the Mt. Kumgang tour. North Korea, citing that South Korea did not carry out what was on the two Declarations, stopped the tour to the city of Kaesong. And concerns were even raised on maintaining the Kaesong Industrial Park in North Korea. When South Korea and the US did not respond, North Korea detained one South Korean worker and two US  women reporters who were on an assignment to cover stories of North Korea. The nuclear issue became worse when North Korea carried out another nuclear bomb testing on May 25, 2009, immediately after the death of Ex-President of South Korea Noh Moo-Hyun.   
    Toward the late 2009, however, changes of atmosphere are becoming apparent. The two women reporters were released after former US President Bill Clinton visited North Korea, and the detained South Korean worker was also released after a meeting between the chairwoman of Hyundai Asan Group, Hyun Jung-Eun and Chairman Kim Jung-Il. Furthermore, when former President Kim Dae-Jung passed away, North Korea sent an official team of special envoys consisted of high-ranking North Korean officials to pay tribute to the deceased president. The sentiment of grief toward the former president who was at the center of the improvement of  inter-Korean relations may work positively toward improving the relationship from now on.

   In retrospect, maintenance and development of inter-Korean relations were the buffer that prevented deterioration of the relationship between the two Koreas and at the same time, it was a minimum requisite necessary for contribution to the solution of  North  Korean nuclear issue. When the Six-Party Talks were stalling, a relatively good relationship between the two Koreas was the factor that eased heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula and worked as a safety valve. And it made concessions between the US and North Korea further possible and resulted in constructive actions from North Korea when the Six-Party negotiations were facilitated. The role of South Korea in resolving North Korea's nuclear issue is limited under the current South-North relationship. South Korean government needs to adjust itself positively and actively to changing circumstances by restoring inter-Korean relations.

(4) Expectation on the role of the US

 The US government‘s policy to North Korean nuclear issue was a sort of shuttle-like roundabout between hardline and softline stance. The US demands North Korea to allow full nuclear inspection with a non-nuclear Korean Peninsula as a premise. And  North Korea makes an issue out of the US's attitude.    
    It is true that the US has shown not a very enthusiastic attitude toward North Korea in the international arena whenever there is a debate on North's nuclear arms buildup in the UN. People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, a South Korean NGO, released the following data after examining the votes casted by each country on UN Security Council resolutions on nuclear arms buildup. The US consistently voted No to all resolutions and decisions on nuclear arms buildup and non-proliferation issues by the UN Security Council for the past six years (2003-2008 between 58th and 63rd meetings). Other nuclear states such as Russia, England, and France votes similar to the US, voting No or throwing away their votes. The nuclear states other than China opposed (the US, England, and France) or gave up (Russia) on the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Testing, Production, Stockpiling, Transfer, Use and Treat of Use of Nuclear Weapons and on their Elimination, suggesting that these nuclear states would not give up testing nuclear weapons. 
    North Korea may raise an issue of equity toward the US maintaining the status quo attitude toward its nuclear weapons. So far the matter of principle. In addition, the US and North Korea are the ones that fought the fiercest since WWII.  North Korea has deep fear toward the US. North Korea had mistrust toward the US  policy that showed in the view of North Koreans some inconsistencies in the North Korean nuclear issue since the 1990's. The lack of mutual trust is bound to inhibit North Korea from accepting demand by the US. Thus, proactive decisions are needed to build trust between the US and North Korea.  
  The visit to North Korea by former President Clinton in August 2009 led to the release of the two detained women US reporters. Koreans who want peace expect eased tensions on the Korean Peninsula after special US envoy Stephen Bosworth visits North Korea in Fall 2009. One can expect to take advantage of this positive situation for the peace in Northeast Asia. The opening of liaison office between USA and North Korea, the exchange of artists and musicians, cooperations of USA women for dialogue of USA with North Korea etc. could be thinkable ways that would help to establish peace in Northeast Asia. USA would be able to play a role of peacemaker in Northeast Asia when she could step further in the direction of dialogue with North Korea. It presupposes of course the positive reaction of North Koreans, too.   
(5) Tensions in inter-Korean relations and Northeast Asia 

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula are bound to affect negatively on securing peace in Northeast Asia. More than anything else, heightened military tensions can work as an excuse for Japan to rearm. Rearmament by Japan would accelerate China's military buildup, which would, in turn, cause the US and Russia to become nervous. In other words, tensions on the Korean Peninsula can bring about the confrontational situation at the global level that reminds us of the Cold War era. 
  Those people who are interested in securing peace on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia think that a multilateral security body should be established by making successful and expanding the Six-Party Talks. Currently, the Six-Party Talks are stalling; but this forum should be vitalized to establish an institution that would work toward peace in Northeast Asia. 
   And big changes are expected in Northeast Asian relations as the Democratic Party is ruling Japan's political circles. The Hatoyama administration needs to adopt a proactive policy in dealing with peace issues in Northeast Asia.
(6) Our expectations: 
In this changing situation we wish that peace efforts to solve the North Korea nuclear crisis find more positive resonances and make its way through toward  establishment of peace on the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia. For this  the Six Party Talk should restore its previous status. North Korea needs to show readiness in dialogue with USA and come back to the Six Party Talk. Countries participating in the Six Party Talk could help North Korea's return by offering more humanitarian aids. Cultural exchanges also could facilitate softening of the atmosphere.   

2. The women's peace movement in Korea

(1) Activities

 Through continued exchanges of women between South Korea and North for almost a decade, many South Korean women (even conservatives) share the thought that North Korea is part of Korea and partner for cooperation to the South. A 30% quota of women was granted in the "South Korean Action Council on the June 15 Joint Declaration". 
  Women's organizations in progressive South Korean circles are pursuing various activities such as exchanges of women between South Korea and North Korea, providing aid to women and children of North Korea, securing peace on the Peninsula; and in the international arena, increasing women's participation in the reunification and foreign affairs policies, and expanding peace education and peace culture. Korean women are involved in the following activities to secure peace.

1) Exchanges of women between South and North Korea
○ The discussion forum on Asian peace and the role of women (1991-1993, held in Tokyo, Seoul, Pyongyang, and Tokyo)
○  Inter-Korean women's solidarity for the resolution of comfort women for the Japanese military during WWII (1993- )
  - North Korean participation in the third conference for the solidarity of comfort women in Asia, hosted by the Korean Council for Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan (1995)
  -  The three nation conference (South and North Korea, and Japan) to resolve comfort women issues and women's human rights (1998)
  - The discussion forum by South and North Korea and Japan to resolve the comfort women issues (Pyongyang, 2002)
○ South-North cooperation of women through women's exchanges for assisting North Korea and humanitarian support (1997- )
  - The rice sharing and love sharing campaign : Sent 26 tons of baby formula for North Korean children (1997)
  - The campaign to send thermal underwear for North Korean children (2001)
  - Fundraising to help people in Yongcheon, North Korea (for school explosion) (2004)
  - Fundraising to help North Koran flood victims (2006)

○ Exchange activities
  - Meetings of South and North Korean women and discussion forums for the celebration of inter-Korean events (for the June 15 Joint Declaration and the independence day on August 15 (2001-2008)
  - The establishment of the women's headquarters to prepare for joint celebration abroad for the implementation of the June 15 Joint Declaration
  - 2002 inter-Korean women's reunification conference (Mt. Kumgang), and 2005 inter-Korean women's reunification conference
  - Conference of inter-Korean women's leaders (2006, 2008/ Mt. Kumgang)

2) Peace-making activities

 ○ Anti-war and peace campaign
  - Various activities opposing dispatching troops to Iraq (2004-
  - Fact-finding and resolution activities for two Korean middle school girls crushed to death by a US armored tank (2002)

 ○ Spreading of peace education and peace culture (regularly)
  - Training of teachers for conflict intervention education and expand this education 
  - Training of peace education teachers for Peace Education Academy 
  - Touring with songs and children's plays written for peace
3) Demand more participation of women in the policy decision making process related with reunification 

 ○ Demand 50% participation of women in government committees on reunification, defense and foreign affairs 
 ○ Demand the establishment of a women policy department under the Ministry of Reunification 
 ○ Demand evaluation on the gender effects in reunification, foreign affairs and defense policies (Demand the implementation of UNSC Resolution 1325) 

(2) Opening of Northest Asian Women's Six-Party Talks
Korean women peace activists have continue to engage in the effort to support inter-Korean dialogue and to create institutional systems to talk with North Korean women. And the opening of North Korea east Asian Women's Peace Conference is important part of this effort. The following were the efforts placed and the process for the opening of the Women's Six-Party Talks. And Korean women peace activists participated in the process for the following reasons. 

  1) Women need to participate in the realization of a nuclear free Korean Peninsular, peace regime, and peace in Northeast Asia : It corresponds to the spirit of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 which urges the participation of women in peace negotiations and post conflict reconstruction.
  2) Meeting of East Asian women : Women's Six-Party Talks can be a place where women in  East Asia come together to remove misunderstanding and distrustfulness coming from the experience of colonization and the Cold War, to fill systematic and cultural gaps, and to build mutual understanding and trust.  
  3) A place seeking visions and methods for realizing peace on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia : Women's Six-Party Talks would be a place where women from the participating countries get together to deal with conflicts in a non-violent manner, to expand peace support, and to secure the vision that could turn a hostile relationship into that of harmony and cooperation. Furthermore, this  forum would form an extensive network of women to pursue the mission of peace settlement in Northeast Asia. For the long term, it would enable women to communicate, form solidarity and  contribute in rearing women as global leaders.  
 To prepare for the forum, the "Korean Women's Peace Delegation" was formed in 2007. Through meetings with women leaders of these countries, the delegation emphasized a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, peace regime establishment and the role of women as agents of harmony/cooperation/peace creation; asked for support and cooperation for exchanges between South and North Korean women; and highlighted the need to for a peace network amongst women in Northeast Asia.
    Women leaders from five countries including South Korea, Japan, China, Russia and the US participated in Northeast Asian Women's Peace Conference held in Seoul on September 1. 2008. This Conference was the first in its kind with women leading peace activities in Northeast Asia as the agenda. Through the forum, the participants shared common interests in resolving a cold war in Northeast Asia and North Korean nuclear issues. They hoped that these peace efforts can bring about a breakthrough when South-North dialogues have stopped and deactivating the nuclear facilities of North Korea came into a halt. And they adopted a joint statement and demanded the following. 
    1) Immediately implement UNSC Resolution 1325.
    2) Pursue a nuclear-free Northeast Asia.
    3) Work toward true reconciliation in Northeast Asia.
    4) Immediately respond to urgent humanitarian needs of North Korea.

The media including Yonhap News, Women's News, and Kookmin Daily showed much interest and covered this Peace Conference thoroughly. The following were some of the responses shown by international participants. 

- As the biggest victims of war and violence and care takers of others, women are highly sensitive to peace. ... it is essential to approach peace from the women's perspective to realize peace. .   
- Most Americans do not know about the background of the Korean War. Americans are outsiders when it comes to Northeast Asian issues. However, they discovered the possibility that borders can come down little at a time once they go beyond the DMZ. They will continue to help out in the reconciliation process of South and North Korea.
- Americans will come up with a specific action plan on what organizations and people to contact for peace in Northeast Asia. North Koreaeast Asian Women's Peace Conference will active to become a network that would connect women of the world.
- The division of South and North Korea is the issue for the women of six countries to resolve together. We will work until the day Japan and North Korea freely visit each other. 
- There is a belief now that exchanges of civilian women can contribute for peace in Northeast Asia. 

As seen in the following excerpt, Women's News evaluated the significance of Women's Peace Conference favorably to the point that reporters of the newspaper accompanied the delegation to Kaesong: “The delegation composed of women from six-party countries has played the role of opening a gateway for civilian exchanges and international cooperation for peace on the Korean Peninsula.”  

    Aside from these evaluations from participants, there are the following issues to be considered: 
 - Peace and security are not the symmetric issues but mutually overlapping issues once we go beyond conventionalism. Emphasizing only peace gives the public an impression of having discussions only at the conceptual level. Thus, it is important to expand the concept of "alternative security" in the peace movement of Korea.
- For international cooperation in the peace and reunification movements, peace activists of Korea tend to focus only on American and Japanese figures but should also strive to form solidarity with Chinese and Russian figures.  
- The process is needed where people share the significance of North Korean nuclear issue as not just an issue of the Korean Peninsula but an issue of Northeast Asia.  
- The nuclear issue is not an issue of peace on the Korean Peninsula (despite the fact that peace on the Korean Peninsula is the major issue in securing peace in Northeast Asia) but is a symbolic issue that expresses the understanding of each nation during the transition period of rearranging Northeast Asian order. Thus, resolving this nuclear issue should be considered at the regional level.  

Conclusions : Issues to be resolved in the peace movement of Korea and the role of women

The Mt. Kumgang tour that lasted for a decade came to a halt on July 12, 2009, and the Ministry of Reunification has banned civilian visits to Pyongyang ever since. The Ministry is of the opinion that a large-scale visit by South Koreans to North Korea is not right for the sake of people's sentiments under tightened inter-Korean relations because of the shooting killing of a South Korean. Civilian exchanges that functioned as a catalyst are not possible under the current situation when inter-Korean dialogues ceased completely. 
  Tightened inter-Korean relations are not helpful toward settling peace on the Korean Peninsula nor in Northeast Asia, nor for internal politics, policy management and gaining international confidence. It is important to turn the awareness in which inter-Korean relations should be approached from a practical perspective rather than from an ideologic one.    
   In the international arena, North Korea has been recognized as a problem since the 1990's with the issues such as North Korean escapees, human rights, and nuclear proliferation but its history and special circumstances have been ignored. Thus, seeking ways to involve North Korea to change the society from the universal value perspective is needed in pursuing peace in Northeast.    
   Furthermore, we also need to seek ways to find a common voice among  moderates and reasonable conservatives in Korean society.        
   Here, women seeking peace should resort to dialogue to strengthen exchanges among women and make sure the results would have political impact. Women are worried over the situation of tightened inter-Korean relations and ceased humanitarian aid to North Korea. Recently the words "peace" and "peace regime" are not used anymore in inter-Korean dialogues. Advocating practicalism, universalism and reciprocity does not have much meaning without a peace regime or peace process as a prerequisite.
  In this effort to secure peace, those involved in the women's peace movement should strive to open communication between policy-makers and the general public. Women's peace activists propose the following to establish institutional systems to enable women to contribute in finding peace on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia.             
 1) Place efforts to expand women's exchanges between South Korea and North Korea to involve the general public and to overcome the gap between South and North Korean women on the issue of reunification   
 2) Expand the participation of women and introduce the gender perspective in the reunification, defense, and foreign affairs processes  

 3) Expand solidarity among international women to settle peace in Northeast Asia and on the Korean Peninsula 
 4) Increase reunification and peace education and expand peace culture  
 5) Expand the role of and empower women and peace NGOs


**** Appendix:
Candlelight vigils and growth of political consciousness among Korean women: Women's political empowerment in public and the Internet

Korean women have significantly changed in the political and social aspects in the face of the conservative politics between 2008 to 2009. Political empowerment of women is definitely seen after candlelight vigils. Not all but at least some women showed conspicuous growth of their political consciousness on-line as well as off-line through these protests. I have expressed this phenomenon as 'women as speaking and acting subject in public arena'. As candlelight vigils boiled down in the late 2008, women who had built their political consciousness in streets and plazas turned to Internet blogs to express their thoughts. Now they create and run fan clubs to support progressive politicians. In other words, women are emerging as  political leaders of a new generation. What stands out is the fact that young women in their 20's and 30's who used to chat their ordinary and cultural interests in Internet sites are using these sites for active political discussions after the vigils and the death of former President Noh Moo-Hyun. In other words, it is a new type of union between feminism and progressive political discourse.
   However, it seems that this noticeable political awareness that has no previous example is limited only to discussions of domestic issues. And these women who are newly empowered politically are not engaged actively in discourses for peace in Northeast Asian and the world. Existing peace activists need to work harder to  attract more women including these empowered women who have been outside of the peace movement in Korea.  


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