Category Archives: East Asia

6,000 teachers deployed to promote peace in Mindanao (Philippines)

… EDUCATION FOR PEACE …

An article John Unson for Philstar Global, as reprinted by the Global Campaign for Peace Education

Some 6,000 teachers deployed in five southern provinces in the past five years are now actively helping propagate interfaith solidarity among schoolchildren in support of the government’s Mindanao peace efforts.
They are now handling classes in remote barrios in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao covering Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, both in mainland Mindanao, and in the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.


New ARMM public school teachers show their appointments signed by the region’s chief executive, Gov. Mujiv Hataman. (Photo: Philstar.com / John Unson)

Lawyer Rasol Mitmug Jr., ARMM’s regional education secretary, said Friday the latest batch of duly licensed public school mentors enlisted by his department is comprised of 765 men and women who had signed commitments to accept teaching assignments in far-flung schools.

(Articles continued in right column)

Questions for this article:

Where is peace education taking place?

(continued from left column)

More than 4,000 teachers were appointed by ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman during the time of Mitmug’s predecessor, John Magno, who was at the helm of the regional education department from late 2015 to 2017.

They filled out vacancies after the removal by the Hataman administration of thousands of “ghost teachers” from the payroll of the Department of Education-ARMM that proliferated during the time of past regional governors.

“Some of them showed their dedication and commitment when they volunteered to help facilitate the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataang elections last month,” Mitmug said.

He said the teachers are now helping propagate the so-called “culture of peace” and religious solidarity among ARMM’s Muslim and Christian communities.

The ARMM education and public works department were touted as the most corrupt agencies of the regional governments under past administrations.

Officials of the two agencies now openly talk about efficiency in  handling of quarterly operating funds from the national coffer, open to scrutiny by media entities and peace advocacy blocs helping improve regional governance through various capacity-building interventions.  

(Thank you to Janet Hudgins, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

Philippines: New Bangsamoro Organic Law Includes Provision for Peace Education

… EDUCATION FOR PEACE …

An article by By Jasmin Nario-Galace and Loreta Castro from the
Center for Peace Education, Miriam College for the Global Campaign for Peace Education

On July 27, the Philippine President signed into law the Bangsamoro Organic Law which aims to complete the peace agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. This peace agreement was signed in 2014 but required a law to implement it.  


Questions for this article:

Where is peace education taking place?

The Center for Peace Education at Miriam College  in Quezon City has been lobbying for the inclusion of peace education in the Education provision of the said draft law. After nearly 4 years,  the said efforts had finally yielded the result that was hoped for.  

Under Article IX, the Education provision of the new law, second paragraph says: “The Bangsamoro government shall institutionalize peace education in all levels of education” (page 39).

You may download here a copy of the Bangsamoro Organic Law

(Thank you to Janet Hudgins, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

Coal Divestment Reaches Japan

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article from Treehugger

Nippon Life Insurance will become first major Japanese institutional investor to ditch coal.

News reported by Reuters that Nippon Life Insurance is going to stop financing coal-fired power plants  should be welcome news for all of us who care about the fate of the planet.

(continued in right column)

Question for this article:

Divestment: is it an effective tool to promote sustainable development?

(continued from left column)

True, it might not be news quite on the magnitude of Ireland divesting from all fossil fuels. But for fossil fuel divestment to work we need it to spread and deepen — meaning more institutions, in more locations, divesting from an increasingly comprehensive list of fossil fuel-related interests. And—as The Church of England has taught us —we most urgently need to start with the dirtiest of fossil fuels.

As Japan’s largest life insurer, with assets of $667 billion, this is a significant announcement in and of itself. But the Reuters report also states that Japan as a whole is currently one of the biggest financiers of coal technology in the world. Given that Nippon Life Insurance is apparently the first institutional investor in Japan to make such a move, activists will surely be hoping that it has ripple effects across the country’s financial scene.

As I’ve argued before, the real test for divestment will be when folks divest not because of ethical pressures, but because continuing to pour money into the technologies of the past no longer makes financial sense. But every move like this brings that moment closer to fruition.

9th International Conference on Human Rights Education

…. HUMAN RIGHTS ….

An article from the Global Campaign for Peace Education

The international conferences on human rights education (ICHRE) will take place in Australia at Western Sydney University November 26, 2018 – November 29, 2018.

The ICHRE are a series of dialogues on human rights education as a means of promoting democracy, the rule of law, justice, and intercultural and social harmony. Since its beginnings in Sydney, Australia, in 2010, conferences have been held  in South Africa, Poland, Taiwan, USA, Holland, Chile and Canada.

The 9th ICHRE will coincide with the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 25th anniversary of the education-oriented Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action. Much work has been done to improve knowledge and education about these principles of human rights globally. But there is still much work to do to embed these principles into everyday thinking where they can underpin civil society.

The 9th ICHRE will cover the range of human rights education (HRE) issues such as national and international curricula, pedagogy and best practices, including in the context of discrimination faced by the First Nations, women, persons with disabilities, the LGBTIQ communities and those of refugee and minority cultural and religious backgrounds. Contemporary challenges to HRE and how to effectively address them will be considered.

(Article continued in the right column)

Question related to this article:

What is the state of human rights in the world today?

(Article continued from the left column)

Underpinning the Conference deliberations will be the cross-cutting theme of how HRE can develop and strengthen civil society.

Why attend?

The Conference is an opportunity to:

– learn about the latest research, practices and trends in HRE;

– participate in thought-provoking and practical paper and workshop presentations;

– strengthen practical skills through HRE workshops;
share information and experiences on HRE;

– engage with a grassroots movement which is dedicated to improving HRE; and

– foster contacts and networks and explore partnerships and collaboration.

Who will attend?

The Conference is expected to be attended by some 400 Australia and international HRE experts, practitioners, decision makers and thought leaders from government, civil society, academia and the private sector. For more information on the 9th ICHRE, including on registration and proposals for paper and workshop presentations, see www.ichre2018.com.au.

South Korea reactions after Trump-Kim summit

. .DISARMAMENT & SECURITY. .

An article from Deutsche Welle (reprinted by permission)

One day after the historic summit between North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump, there are a mix of reactions in South Korea.

The initial results of local elections taking place on Wednesday with the inner-Korean rapprochement in the background showed positive outcomes for the governing Minjoo party.

14 out of 17 mayoral posts and 10 of 12 parliamentary seats up for election went to Minjoo candidates. The results could considered be a vote of confidence for President Moon Jae-in’s North Korea policy.

Among South Korean conservatives, however, there is a growing feeling of disillusionment after Trump and Kim signed a letter of intent. For them, the potential denuclearization of North Korea now seems farther off than ever before.

Nam Sung-wook from Korea University was quoted in the largest South Korean daily Chosun Ilbo as saying the “complete, verifiable and irreversible disarmament is no longer a question.”

“Scam of the century”

A major point of contention is Trump’s statement suspending US-South Korean military maneuvers, citing them as “expensive and provocative war games.” There are concerns that the longstanding military alliance between the US and South Korea could be weakened.

(continued in right column)

Question for this article:

Can Korea be reunified in peace?

(continued from left column)

Professor Park Won-gon from Handong Global University told DW that the letter of intent was “the biggest scam of the century that fulfilled 99 percent of North Korea’s wishes.”

In the US, major media outlets also reacted with concern after the summit. The New York Times wrote “North Korea is a nuclear power, get used to it.”

Joseph Yun, a foremost Korea expert in Washington said “North Korea wanted exactly this, and I cannot believe that our side allowed this to happen. I am totally surprised that months of negotiations have led to so few results.”

Surprise suspension of military exercises

President Trump’s plan to suspend military exercises was reportedly not agreed upon in advance with the South Korean government in Seoul. According to a South Korean government speaker, they were not entirely sure exactly what Trump meant by “war games.”

President Moon has called for a national security meeting to take place on Thursday in order to discuss the results of and potential ramifications of the summit.

In the past, South Korea’s government has expressed willingness to reduce the biannual military exercises. Nevertheless, the US and South Korea both consider the exercises to be an integral part of their decades-long alliance. The US current has 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea.

The military exercises do regularly stir controversy with North Korea, which considers them to be a provocative act of war. Seoul and Washington say they are purely defensive.

For South Koreans, the potential to end the Korean War and achieve peace with the North is something many people are paying attention to.

“I think agreeing on denuclearization is good, but I had expected that Trump and Kim would announce the end of the Korean War,” a middle-aged South Korean on a city street in Seoul told DW. “Of course I know that everything can’t happen at once.”

Singapore Agreement Breaks ‘Last Remaining Cold War Legacy’ – S Korean President

. .DISARMAMENT & SECURITY. .

An article from Sputnik News

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said that his country intends to ensure full implementation of the latest agreements that Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump signed at the Singapore summit earlier in the day.

The South Korean president also stated that Seoul will “accompany Pyongyang on the path of peace and cooperation,” vowing to write a “new history” with North Korea.

(continued in right column)

Question for this article:

Can Korea be reunified in peace?

(continued from left column)

“Leaving dark days of war and conflict behind, we will write a new chapter of peace and cooperation… The June 12 Sentosa Agreement will be recorded as a historic event that has helped break down the last remaining Cold War legacy on Earth” Moon said in a statement released by his office.
Earlier in the day, Moon Jae-in expressed hope that the US-North Korean high-level summit would pave the wave for an “era of complete denuclearization” and peace in the region. However, his adviser previously stated, echoing the words of the Japanese government secretary, that the complete denuclearization of North Korea might take up to a decade.

On Tuesday Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un signed a document after a long-awaited historic summit in Singapore. Addressing the results of the negotiations, Trump said North Korea’s denuclearization process would be starting “very quickly,” while the North Korean leader stated, that the world was about to see “a major change.”

Toward a Truly Indigenous Peace in the Korean Peninsula

. .DISARMAMENT & SECURITY. .

An article by Simone Chun for Foreign policy in focus (reprinted according to terms of Creative Commons Attribution licence)

Why is the Democratic Party making peace in Korea more difficult?

Last month, I took part in an international women’s peace delegation to South Korea, led by Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire and Women Cross DMZ founder Christine Ahn.

It was my first visit to my native Korea in over three years. Everywhere I went, I witnessed the afterglow of the inspiring candlelight movement that restored democracy to the country last year, and I sensed the deep conviction with which Koreans support the current peace process initiated by President Moon Jae-in.

Women’s delegation cross Unification Bridge (Nobel Women’s Initiative via Flickr)

Our delegation noted in one of its first official statements following its arrival in Korea:

What initiated the Panmunjom Declaration was the completely non-violent and peaceful civil revolution in 2016 that began with orderly marches of demonstration with warm candlelight through the winter. The candlelight revolution was a true example of the UN’s Culture of Peace.


In addition to meeting with diplomatic representatives from the United States, UK Japan, Sweden, and Canada, we participated in an all-day peace symposium at the National Assembly side by side with South Korean women peace activists. One of our South Korea colleagues commented that while women have been conspicuously absent from the process of war-making in the Korean peninsula (at least from a policy standpoint) they most certainly ought to be part of the peace process.

On the same day that President Moon and Chairman Kim held their second summit in Panmunjom, our delegation, accompanied by over 1,200 Korean women, walked over five kilometers in the sweltering heat to cross the Unification Bridge on foot. Christine Ahn summed up all our sentiments when she later commented:

“We were the first civilians to walk across the Unification Bridge. As I took my first step onto the bridge, tears streamed down my face as I thought about how Korea was divided by the US and the former Soviet Union after 35 years of Japanese colonial occupation.”

(continued in right column)

Question for this article:

Can Korea be reunified in peace?

(continued from left column)

Returning to the United States however, I found a starkly different reality in the sustained rightwing attacks on the peace process and even the very idea of a peace treaty. Pundits, neocon hawks, and corporate media have been promoting an aggressively maximalist standard according to which North Korea must give up its entire nuclear weapons program before any serious discussions can take place. In this dialogue, the four million Korean and 35,000 American lives lost to the Korean War, as well as the 80 million Koreans whose lives would hang in balance in any renewed conflict, are presented as mere footnotes. North Korea in particular, where poverty is rampant and 25% of children suffer from malnutrition, is presented as the perpetually “threatening other,” fully deserving to suffer from US-led sanctions. American exceptionalism is celebrated without reservation.

In a recent declaration, seven leading Democratic senators continued this disregard for the interests of Koreans themselves in this nominally inter-Korean conflict with their demand that President Trump hold to a hard line in any negotiations with North Korea. The letter – signed by Senators Bob Menendez, Chuck Schumer, Richard Durbin, Mark Warner, Diane Feinstein, Patrick Leahy, and Sherrod Brown – completely overlooked the recent progress toward peace of the inter-Korean summit and the Panmunjom Declaration, and discounted the overwhelming support for the current peace process by Koreans. The letter offers no alternative vision for peace on the Korean Peninsula and considers Korean interests only insofar as they serve the narrow political agenda of the Democratic Party.

On the occasion of our delegation’s visit to Korea, I reached out to renowned scholar Professor Noam Chomsky for a statement in support of our mission. Contrasting the significance of the April 27 Declaration between the two Koreas with the apparently incoherent foreign policy approach of the United States, which plays a dominant role in any prospect for inter-Korean peace, Chomsky commented:

The April 27 Declaration of the two Koreas was a historic event, which promises a bright future for the people of Korea. It calls for the two Koreas to settle their problems “on their own accord” and lays out a careful schedule to proceed, something quite new. It also calls on the international community (meaning Washington) to support this process. Unfortunately, the signals from Washington are at best mixed.  National Security Council advisor John Bolton, who has called for bombing North Korea at once, and Vice-President Mike Pence both invoked the “Libya model,” knowing full well its import. President Trump cancelled the Singapore summit a few hours after North Korea had destroyed its main testing site as an important gesture of conciliation. But these are pitfalls, not termination of the process. With determination and good will the two Koreas can move forward with the plans outlined in the Declaration. It is the task of the people of the United States to support them in this historic endeavor and to ensure that their own government does not undermine or in any way impede the process. That can succeed. It must succeed, for the welfare of Korea, and all of us.

Noam Chomsky is right in pointing out that this initiative carried forward by the two Koreas is in fact “something quite new.” The minimum that the United States can do at this historic moment is to refrain from harming the inter-Korean peace process. It’s time that American politicians, both Democratic and Republicans, give Koreans a chance to shape their own destiny.

Rain or Shine: Dispatch from South Korea

. .DISARMAMENT & SECURITY. .

An article from the Nobel Women’s Initiative

“We walk in the hope that we can move closer to the re-unification of Korea. We have always walked in the rain or shine. Let’s give power to women. Let’s walk.” – Young-Soo Han.

As the political situation on the Korean peninsula continues to shift, our #WomenPeaceKorea: A New Era delegation with Women Cross DMZ  spent the day demonstrating for peace and women’s representation in the process.


Photo courtesy of Women Cross DMZ

Our delegation of 30 women security experts and feminist peace activists from aroundthe world participated in the second historic  DMZ Peace Walk  today in Paju, South Korea. They marched alongside 1,200 South Korean women mobilizing for a peaceful resolution to the Korean conflict.

(continued in right column)

Question for this article:

Can Korea be reunified in peace?

(continued from left column)

“This strip of land symbolizes the longest division of a people, and it feels so amazing to be walking with 1,200 women to erase this division.” – Christine Ahn.

During the opening ceremonies we heard from Young-Soo Han, President of the National YWCA of Korea, about the significance of the march. The 5.5 km Peace Walk began by  crossing the Tongildaegyo  (Unification Bridge). As we walked we were told that this was the first time civilians had actually crossed the bridge on foot.

The march came just hours before it was announced that, despite American President Donald Trump’s Thursday cancellation of June’s Korea peace summit, South Korean President Moon Jae-in met with North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un  on the North side of the DMZ to continue talks.

“The time for peace has come. Peace can only come if the people build it. But peace also needs political leaders. So we call on Kim, Moon and Trump to sign a peace treaty for the people of Korea and for the world.” – Mairead Maguire.

The Peace Walk ended in Dorasan Peace Park with a Women’s Peace Walk Declaration  reading and Peace Festival. Nobel peace laureate, Mairead Maguire, also spoke at the festival  to highlight the power of civilian peacebuilders and call world leaders back to the negotiating table.

(Thank you to Janet Hudgins, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

“Our Dreams Are Coming True”: Peace Activists Celebrate as Korean Leaders Vow to Officially End War

. .DISARMAMENT & SECURITY. .

An article from Democracy Now (reprinted under terms of  Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

History has been made on the Korean peninsula today, as South Korean President Moon Jae-In and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un shook hands at the Demilitarized Zone between the two countries and pledged to work to denuclearize the peninsula and to declare the official end to the Korean War. Today’s historic summit marks the first time a North Korean leader has ever set foot inside South Korea. During the meeting, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said “I came here to put an end to the history of confrontation.” The North and South Korean leaders pledged to pursue talks with the United States aimed at negotiating a formal peace treaty to replace the uneasy 1953 armistice. For more we speak with Ann Wright, retired U.S. Army Colonel and former State Department diplomat. She is a member of Women Cross DMZ, a group of international peacemakers who have been calling for an end to the Korean War.


Video of program

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, Democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. History was made on the Korean Peninsula today.

MOON JAE-IN: Kim Jong-un and I declared together that there will be no more war on the Korean Peninsula and a new age of peace has begun.

AMY GOODMAN: Those were the words of South Korean President Moon Jae-in as he held a historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. After shaking hands at the demilitarized zone between the two countries, the two leaders pledged to work to denuclearize the Peninsula and to declare the official end to the Korean War. Today’s historic summit marks the first time a North Korean leader has ever set foot inside South Korea. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un wrote in a guest book “a new history starts now. An age of peace, from the starting point of history.” Kim and his South Korean counterpart pledged to pursue talks with the United States aimed at negotiating a formal peace treaty to replace the uneasy truce that was brokered after the 1950-1953 Korean War. This is North Korean leader Kim Jong-un speaking today.

KIM JONG-UN: We will make efforts to create good results by communicating closely in order to make sure our agreement signed today before the entire world will not end as just a beginning like previous agreements before today.

AMY GOODMAN: Today’s breakthrough comes amidst a series of diplomatic developments regarding North Korea and its nuclear program. Last month, Kim Jong-un traveled to Beijing by armored train to meet with the president of China, Xi Jinping, in Kim’s first foreign trip since taking office in 2011. Kim is also slated to meet soon with President Trump, in what would be the first-ever meeting between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader. Last week, North Korea announced it would stop testing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles and would close a site where at least six prior nuclear tests were held. This is South Korean President Moon Jae-In speaking today.

MOON JAE-IN: It is very significant that North Korea took a measure of freezing nuclear first. It will be a valuable beginning for the complete denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula. I clearly declare that the South and North will closely cooperate for the complete denuclearization.

AMY GOODMAN: This morning, after President Trump tweeted against James Comey once again, he then tweeted, ”KOREAN WAR TO END! The United States, and all of its GREATpeople, should be very proud of what is now taking place in Korea!” We go right now to Hawaii, where we are joined by retired U.S. Army colonel, former State Department diplomat, Ann Wright. She is a member of Women Cross DMZ, a group of international peacemakers who have been calling for an end to the Korean War. Ann Wright, talk about your response to what has just taken place on the Korean Peninsula. Did you ever think you would see this day?

ANN WRIGHT: Holy smoke, no. This is just really remarkable. The last 12 hours have just stunned everyone, of the incredible, incredible work that has been done by the South Korean government with the North Korean government. And for them to have been able to come out with a communiqué, an agreement that is stunning, that has—I mean, I couldn’t have written it any better. All of the wants that we of the world who want peace for the Korean Peninsula, who could have written everything down—we couldn’t have added anything more to what they have come up with. It is really a beautiful, beautiful agreement, worked very hard by both governments. And I certainly hope the United States government will agree with all parts of it and that, indeed, the people of Korea will finally have peace on their Peninsula.

AMY GOODMAN: As you mentioned, this really has been pushed forward by the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in. He campaigned on this and he has pushed very hard for this meeting. What is actually in the document that they signed, from the economy to denuclearization?

ANN WRIGHT: Indeed, it is just—it’s breathtaking, the amount of things that are in this communiqué. Everything from denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, to a peace treaty, to no more war on the Korean Peninsula. To establish a peace regime. To have family reunification starting on August 15th. To connect railroads and roads. To cease all hostile acts on land, air, and sea. To transform the DMZ into a peace zone. To have a maritime peace zone in the western, northern limit of the area. To hold military talks in May. That President Moon will go to North Korea in the fall. And to say there will be disarmament in a phased manner as tensions are alleviated. It is a really beautiful, beautiful document that will require a lot of work, that’s for sure, and a lot of commitment to make sure that this doesn’t get derailed in any way, but it is really a very comprehensive statement of peace for the Korean Peninsula.

(continued in right column)

Question for this article:

Can Korea be reunified in peace?

(continued from left column)

AMY GOODMAN: Now, you are a retired U.S. Army colonel. You quit the State Department over your opposition to the war in Afghanistan. You are a fierce critic of President Trump. But do you believe that President Trump deserves credit for some of what has taken place today?

ANN WRIGHT: Absolutely. Ninety-nine percent of the things that President Trump is doing, I don’t agree with, but even when he was running for office, when he said “I will talk to people. I will talk to Kim Jong-un,” it was like, “Well, that’s a very good statement.” And indeed, he has followed through, saying that he will. And I certainly hope that they do have a very good summit in late May or in June. It is very important that the United States follow through with what the South Korean government and the North Korean government have done. And I certainly wish President Trump goodwill for this, and I wish him goodwill if he would approach other aspects of our globe for peace, for the better environment, for keeping our planet safe for everyone. But yes, he deserves a little bit of credit for this, and I’ll give it to him.

AMY GOODMAN: As the Korean leaders embraced each other on the demilitarized zone, the White House released the photograph of Mike Pompeo, who was secretary of state nominee at the time—he has been approved—and Kim Jong-un in that secret Easter-day meeting. The significance of that, Ann Wright?

ANN WRIGHT: Well, as director of the CIA at the time, to have sent the intelligence chief of the United States instead of the secretary of state—although by that time, Tillerson I believe had already been fired. But President Trump having in mind the nomination, I guess, of Mike Pompeo to become secretary of state, it does put him in a position that he has at least met Kim Jong-un. Hopefully, they will develop some sort of a relationship so that the United States and North Korea can have a reasonable relationship. It is very important that we give credit where credit is due. I hope not only is he able to smooth out relations with North Korea, keep relations with South Korea, and I hope he is able to rebuild the State Department, which so desperately needs to have some attention from the Trump administration.

AMY GOODMAN: And what does this mean for the, what is it, something like 28,000 troops in South Korea, U.S. troops in South Korea, today?

ANN WRIGHT: Oh, I can imagine that those 28,000 troops are just breathing a sigh of relief. To have been assigned to North—to South Korea with all of the tensions, it must have been very, very difficult for all of the U.S. military there as well as the civilians of South Korea, having to live under all of the rhetoric that has been going on. But I feel quite certain that our U.S. military is breathing a great sigh of relief with this agreement between North and South Korea.

AMY GOODMAN: Ann Wright, you crossed the demilitarized zone as a member of Women Cross DMZ in 2015. Did you think this moment can come, and do you see a unified Korea in the future?

ANN WRIGHT: Well, indeed. In 2015, with Christine Ahn, with whom I was with this afternoon here in Honolulu as we watched the very beginning of the talks between the leaders of North and South Korea. And of course, this has been our dream, not just Women Cross the DMZ, but all of the people that have been working on the issues of the Korean Peninsula for decades. And indeed it is just—it is a remarkable occurrence today that our dreams are really coming true.

If this agreement is implemented in the way that it is written, it will really provide such a relief to both the people of North Korea and South Korea that they don’t have to live under the threat of potential military action, that indeed there can be cooperation on economic areas that will help North Korea.

The people in North Korea are not dummies. They are very smart people, and I think they will be able to use this opportunity very, very well to increase their standard of living. And the family reunification part of this, that the people of the Korean Peninsula who were artificially divided in 1945, that indeed they will be able to resume family relationships, and that the Korean Peninsula will become a safe place, a place of peace for the world.

AMY GOODMAN: We are currently showing live footage of the two leaders, South and North Korea, as they hold hands, continue to embrace each other. Do you think, Ann Wright, that the crippling sanctions that President Trump imposed against North Korea drove Kim Jong-un to this point? And what do you think we could see if North Korea is opened up?

ANN WRIGHT: Well, the pressure that the international community has put on North Korea definitely had to have had some effect on Kim Jong-un’s decision to be more open. However, I think the greater thing was that, indeed, because they have developed nuclear weapons, that they feel secure that they could defend themselves from any type of regime change, which is still the policy of the United States. Although, hopefully, by the tweet that President Trump did this morning, regime change is no longer our policy. But I think between the confidence that Kim Jong-un had because of the nuclear program and the increased sanctions that had to be hurting, those things combined put him in a position that, “OK, let’s deal with the West.” I think he is dealing very well with it.

And the numbers of or the amount of natural resources that they have in North Korea, the intelligence of the people of North Korea—I mean, with all of the sanctions and all of the things that the international community have done to them, they still developed nuclear weapons. They still put—they developed ICBMs. They put satellites into space. It’s not like under all those sanctions that they were just totally crippled. They are very smart people, and I think with a little bit of a chance, that we will see remarkable things happening for the people of North Korea.

AMY GOODMAN: Ann Wright, I want to thank you for being with us. Retired U.S. Army colonel, a member of Women Cross DMZ, speaking to us from Hawaii today about this historic development on the Korean Peninsula—the meeting of the South and North Korean leaders across the DMZ. We will continue to cover this. Tune in next week and over the weekend for the latest developments at Democracynow.org. 
This is Democracy Now! When we come back, we go to Capitol Hill, where the EPAAdministrator, Scott Pruitt, who many say has rolled back environmental regulations to an extent we have not seen in decades, was grilled on Capitol Hill. Stay with us.

Alliance in Asia: A subsidiary for International Cities of Peace in China!

.. DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION ..

Excerpt from April newsletter of International Cities of Peace

In January, Executive Director J. Fred Arment traveled to Nanjing, China, our 169th city of peace, to discuss forming an alliance to extend the reach of International Cities of Peace throughout Asia. The purpose of the alliance is to create a partnership with the UNESCO Peace Studies Chair of Nanjing University and the Director of the Memorial Hall of the Nanjing Massacre. This alliance is much like a subsidiary organization formed by for-profit corporations such as GM and AT&T.


We are pleased to report that there was great success as a result of the trip. Professor Liu Cheng, the only UNESCO Peace Chair in China and director of the Nanjing University Institute of Peace has formed an alliance to promote cities of peace in Southeast Asia. In September, the Mayor of Nanjing will host a week-long celebration of International Day of Peace. City of Peace leaders will be present for a Conference. Extremely wonderful news!

Questions for this article: