Northeast Asia Roundtable on Women, Peace and Security: Principles of Unity

December 4 – 6, 2018

2018 has been a year of historic change on the Korean Peninsula where the threat of nuclear war has been eclipsed by the prospect of finally ending the 70-year Korean War with a peace process and a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.

In 2018, Korean leaders, Kim Jong Un, Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and Moon Jae In, President of the Republic of Korea (ROK), signed two far-reaching agreements to establish permanent peace on the Peninsula: Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Reunification of the Korean Peninsula and September Pyongyang Joint Declaration. These agreements included opening a liaison office, resuming family reunions and civil society engagement, and turning the Demilitarized Zone into a true peace zone. The leaders of the United States (US) and DPRK also held their first summit ever and signed the June 12 Singapore Joint Statement committing “to establish new US-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.”

Given the critical window created by recent diplomacy, it is more urgent than ever for women from the Northeast Asia region, United States and globally to come together and support the Korea peace processes – DPRK/ROK and US/DPRK – and to call for women’s inclusion throughout. To ensure an ongoing peace process, we call for the following immediate actions:

  • The United States, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Korea, and China should work to declare an end to the Korean War and establish a process to negotiate a Peace Treaty to replace the 1953 Armistice Agreement, as stipulated in Article 4 Paragraph 60. A Peace Treaty can eliminate the risk of a nuclear war and lay the foundation to build trust.
  • The US must begin to normalize relations with the DPRK so that a substantial period of co-existence and interdependence can provide the security assurance needed for complete de-nuclearization. Three actions the US can take now: 1.) open a liaison office that is agreed upon by both countries to facilitate diplomatic engagement towards building mutual trust; 2.) End the travel ban on US citizens from visiting DPRK which has impaired longstanding US humanitarian aid programs and prevented people-to-people engagement; and 3.) Lift broad-based sanctions against DPRK that harm all people, particularly the most vulnerable.
  • In all future peace processes, there must be substantial representation and inclusion of women’s groups to advance women’s meaningful participation in the Korea peace processes as mandated under UN Security Council Resolution 1325. Research now substantiates that when women are meaningfully included in peace processes, not only is a peace agreement more likely to be reached, it is far more durable (at least 15 years). There must be mechanisms for women’s groups to contribute to a holistic peace that yields gender equality and genuine security.

Peace on the Korean Peninsula would offer hope, and a practical roadmap, for the region and the world by modeling a process of reconciliation and demilitarization aimed at creating genuine security.