Opening the Door to Peace on the Korean Peninsula: Women Cross DMZ


An Interview with Christine Ahn

On July 27, 1953, after two years of negotiations, hostilities on the Korean Peninsula were brought to a halt with an armistice agreement. The signatories, the United States on behalf of the UN Command, China, and North Korea, committed to sign a peace treaty. Sixty-two years later, the Korean people are still waiting for that peace treaty, reconciliation, and the bringing together of divided families.

Since taking office, the Obama Administration has engaged in no meaningful dialogue or diplomatic contact with North Korea, and relations between the two Koreas have become more deeply strained.

Christine Ahn, a long-time activist on issues concerning Korea, had a vision. Since current relations are at an impasse, perhaps women could take the initiative and act as a spark to progress. She went on to organize Women Cross DMZ, comprised of thirty accomplished women of varied backgrounds, including women’s advocate Gloria Steinem and Nobel Peace laureates Mairead Maguire and Leymah Gbowee.


Anatomy of a Hatchet Job: Regarding Women Cross DMZ in CNN’s Situation Room


A television news program opens with a clip of marching soldiers, an obligatory image when the subject is North Korea.  A voiceover intones: “A bold, ambitious plan apparently sanctioned by Kim Jong Un.  Is he in league with the women’s group to promote peace between North and South Korea?”

The program in question is the April 6th broadcast of CNN’s Situation Room, with Wolf Blitzer and Brian Todd.  The focus, an organization called Women Cross DMZ, and its audacious plan for thirty women peacemakers to walk across the demilitarized zone from North to South Korea in a symbolic gesture for peace.


Inside North Korea

Christine Ahn 2004

An Interview with Christine Ahn

At a time when speculation and rumors about events in North Korea abound, it should be noted how little of what one reads about that nation is grounded in concrete knowledge and experience. Partly this is due to the North Koreans’ tight hold on the dissemination of information, but it also results from the preference of Western journalists for dealing in boilerplate generalizations and cartoon images. It is not often that one can get an inside view of the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – the formal name for North Korea], however circumscribed the travel routes. Christine Ahn, one of the foremost activists on Korean and globalization issues, visited North Korea in early July, just days after the demolition of the cooling tower at the Yongbyon nuclear reactor. She shares her experiences in the DPRK with us.  Read More »