As President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un went head-to-head Wednesday for their second summit, an international coalition of anti-war women laid out a blueprint for "achieving lasting peace" on the Korean peninsula.
"We must ensure that our voices, our faces are heard; otherwise, we'll always cede ground to the patriarchs and to the militarists," said Christine Ahn, founder and executive director of Women Cross DMZ, who's on the ground in Hanoi for the summit. "We know that when women are involved in the peace process, not only does it lead to a peace agreement, but it leads to one that lasts."
Ahn's group is part of the global Korea Peace Now! campaign, which also brings together the Nobel Women's Initiativee, the Korean Women's Movement for Peace, and Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). They issued their demands to the world leaders in a letter last week, and reiterated them in a Twitter thread on Wednesday:
First, declare an end to the Korean war and the beginning of a new era of peace 2/— Korea Peace Now! (@KoreaPeaceNow) February 27, 2019
Also, normalize relations by establishing liaison offices, lifting sanctions (which harm vulnerable North Koreans), and allowing reunions between Korean Americans and their families in North Korea 4/— Korea Peace Now! (@KoreaPeaceNow) February 27, 2019
Read more about our demands here: https://t.co/G8JcR1yShi— Korea Peace Now! (@KoreaPeaceNow) February 27, 2019
Their sustained call comes a day after the introduction of a House resolution that calls for an end—after nearly seven decades—to the Korean war. It was sponsored by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and backed by 18 other Democratic lawmakers.
"Historic engagement between South and North Korea has created a once-in-a-generation opportunity to formally end this war," Khanna, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, declared in media statement on Tuesday. "President Trump must not squander this rare chance for peace. He should work hand in hand with our ally, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, to bring the war to a close and advance toward the denuclearization of the peninsula."
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For Trump, the meeting was also a chance to once again crack down on freedom of the press, drawing the ire of the White House Correspondents' Association.
Trump, as Politico reported,
was hit with a spray of shouted questions on Wednesday evening in Vietnam, including one about his former fixer Michael Cohen's salacious testimony, as North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un sat alongside him, chuckling and looking bemused at the media outburst.
Minutes later, the White House barred four American journalists from covering their next event.
"This summit provides an opportunity for the American presidency to display its strength by facing vigorous questioning from a free and independent news media, not telegraph weakness by retreating behind arbitrary last-minute restrictions on coverage," responded Olivier Knox, WHCA president.
Physicist and disarmament activist Zia Mian, meanwhile, welcomed the Wednesday Trump-Kim meeting as a sign of diplomacy between the two nations but stressed that "the larger issue we need to focus on is the fact that nuclear weapons are too important to be left to the whims of leaders like Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un."
"Having North Korea continue to commit to a diplomatic process going forward would be a good thing," Mian said. "But neither of these are going to solve the underlying problem," which is "the existence of nuclear weapons."