Thursday, May 9, 2013

President Park Geun-hye proposes peace park in the DMZ

In her address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress, delivered in English, President Park Geun-hye proposed that a peace park be established inside the Korean demilitarized zone (DMZ). She told the assembled members of congress, "60 years ago, a stretch of earth bisecting the Korean Peninsula was cleared of arms. Today, that demilitarized zone drawn to prevent armed collision is the most militarized place on the planet. And the standoff around the DMZ has the potential to endanger global peace. We must defuse that danger. Not just South and North Korea. The world must also get involved. The demilitarized zone must live up to its name, a zone that strengthens the peace not undermines it. It is with this vision in mind that I hope to work toward an international park inside the DMZ. It will be a park that sends a message of peace to all of humanity. This could be pursued in parallel with my Trust-building Process. There, I believe we can start to grow peace -- to grow trust. It would be a zone of peace bringing together not just Koreans separated by a military line, but also the citizens of the world. I call on America and the global community to join us in seeking the promise of a new day."
President Park did not make mention of the existing international proposal  by the DMZ Forum for Peace and Nature Conservation, which was the subject of a post on this blog in May of 2012.  (click on the graphic at the left to see a full size version of the map outlining their peace park proposal) However, on the face of it, the proposal could presumably draw upon the efforts of this group.  The enlarged area of the proposed peace park on the eastern side of the Korean peninsula encompasses northern and southern reaches of Gangwon province, the only province in Korea that is divided by the DMZ.
The full text of President Park Geun-hye's address to the joint session of congress in Washington, D.C. was published by Yonhap News and can be read at this link.  For readers who wish to see a video of the entire speech, it has been published on the website of the clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives.

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