Friday, June 20, 2014

Dreaming of Making Gyodong a Neutral Peace Island

Here on the island of Gyodong from June 13 to 15, we had Ganghwa-Gyodong Peace Leadership Camp sponsored by the Saeurinuri Peace Movement, Young-Ai Kim (Theresa) is the movement's representative. They received financial aid from the Inchon City government for the three day program.The camp had parts of the program both in Ganghwa and Gyodong  for three days of study and training. The participants were middle and high-school students from 12 different schools and students from multiple cultural backgrounds.

June 15th was the 14th anniversary of the North-South Joint Declaration that was adopted between the leaders of the North and South. As a result of the talks in June of 2000 there was the meeting of separated families. The movement for peace would like to see more of these steps to  improve the relationships between the two Koreas.

The program included talks by  specialists on different aspects of the peace movement: war, conflict, emotional  involvement in our present environment, co-existence, and preparing future generations of  leaders.  Especially with the recent Sewol tragedy and the shock to the young students, healing programs were used to give confidence to the participants.

The displaced persons from the North now living in the South expressed their feelings on their being forced to leave their homeland. The students were again introduced to the scars and results of war. Students listened carefully to the talks of the older citizens, and were determined to do all in their power to help them  realize their dream of returning to their birthplaces.

At the end of the month we will have the opening of travel on the bridge that unites the island of Gyodong with the mainland. The traffic from the island will be made easy and inexpensive, and the movement for peace thought it would be a good time for the peace camp. The new world peace movement has prepared a 'memorandum of understanding' to entice the UN International Youth Council to make Gyodong a peace camp to train leaders. The island is at the mouth of the Han River, and with geopolitical meaning would  be an ideal place for the peace island.  They have  worked in getting the support of the citizens of Gyodong and will present their proposal to the government. To prepare for unification, we need education for peace, and helps in resolving the  discord for reconciliation. Gyodong would be a model in realizing this ideal.

At the cease-fire agreement on July 27, of 1953 both parties agreed to allow civilian vessels to navigate at the mouth of the Han River. This was not like the (DMZ) Korean Demilitarized Zone or the (NLL) The Northern Limit Line, a disputed maritime demarcation line in the Yellow Sea between North and South Korea. This was meant to be a neutral zone. For 60 years,this was the case, without any confrontation between the North and South.Kim Theresa says this  is one of the reasons we should make Gyodong the Neutral Peace Island.

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