With negotiations between the United States and North Korea at a standstill, a new report, Path to Peace: The Case for a Peace Agreement to End the Korean War (PDF), explores how a peace-first approach can resolve the security crisis on the Korean Peninsula. Released by Korea Peace Now! — a global coalition of women’s peace organizations — and written by an international group of experts, the report makes the case that a peace agreement would lower tensions and make room for progress on issues such as improved human rights and denuclearization. It also argues for women’s inclusion in the peace process.
“Korea Peace Now’s new report makes a powerful case for the urgent need to formalize the end of the Korean War,” said Representative Ilhan Omar. “The benefits to human rights, denuclearization, and national security are clear. I look forward to continuing our work together to finally bring the war to a formal end.”
“It is clearer than ever – in the face of a pandemic, global recession, and worsening security crisis on the Korean Peninsula – we need a fair, binding, and peaceful resolution to the Korean War now,” said Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. “And as Korea Peace Now! finds in their comprehensive report, when women influence peace processes, the resulting peace is more likely to last. The global community must demand that women are meaningfully included at all levels of the Korea peace process to ensure that any final agreement is sustainable.”
“It’s long past time for Congress to formally end the Korean War,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee. “Keeping this conflict on a hair trigger has left diplomatic efforts vulnerable to mistrust and miscalculation. This report outlines how a negotiated agreement can reduce the risk of war, and allow Koreans and Americans to build a more peaceful and prosperous future. I will keep working in Congress with allies like Women Cross DMZ to make that a reality.”
With negotiations between the United States and North Korea at a standstill, there is an urgent need for a new approach. Rather than rely on more threats and pressure-based tactics, which have failed to deter North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, the United States should instead work toward the immediate signing of a peace agreement in order to finally end the 70-year-old Korean War, the authors argue.
“The first step in ending an armed standoff is for all sides to agree to put down their weapons,” said Henri Féron, Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy and the lead author of the report. “A peace agreement would recognize once and for all that wartime rights to use force have ended.”
“Maintaining the status quo between the United States and North Korea is unsustainable, dangerous, and costly,” said Christine Ahn, Executive Director of Women Cross DMZ and a co-author of the report. “A peace agreement is the most realistic and effective way to solve one of the United States’ most intractable foreign policy challenges.”
“Let’s not forget that real people are suffering as a result of this unresolved war,” said Youkyoung Ko, Consultant of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. “Seventy years is enough. The international community should support a peace agreement ending the war, which would help the region move from confrontation to cooperation on demilitarization and denuclearization.”
“A peace agreement would actually benefit the US-South Korea relationship by allowing the two countries to move from a military alliance to a new partnership that promotes peace on the peninsula and in the region,” said Hyun Lee, U.S. National Organizer for Women Cross DMZ and one of the authors of the report.
“Women want peace on the Korean Peninsula, and studies show that our involvement in peace negotiations improves outcomes ,” said Youngmi Cho, Executive Director of the South Korea-based coalition Korean Women’s Movement for Peace, and one of the authors of the report. “For the Korea peace process to be successful, women must be at the table.”
In addition to the main body of the report there are also contributions by leading Korea experts such as Lt. Col. Daniel Davis of Defense Priorities and Jessica Lee of the Quincy Institute supporting a peace-first approach.
To schedule an in-person interview with report authors, or to get more information, contact Kathleen Richards.