Women activists cross DMZ to S. Korea
Updated: 2015-05-24 17:15
SEOUL - A group of 30 women activists arrived in South Korea on Sunday after a landmark crossing of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) as a symbolic act of peace.
As their request of walking through the truce village of Panmunjom were turned down by both sides, they reached the South by bus along the Gyeongui railway.
The women, who departed from the DPRK's border city of Kaesong Sunday morning, crossed the 4-km heavily fortified DMZ at around 11:25 local time (0225 GMT).
Among the activists were Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Leymah Gbowee from Liberia and Mairead Maguire from Northern Ireland, who is also honorary co-chair of the event designed to call attention to building a reunified Korea.
Wearing white suites and colorful scarves, all of them entered Gyeongui Highway Transit Office in South Korea's city of Paju with big smiles on their faces.
"We hope that this beginning of contact across an artificial barrier will become a place of understanding," the 81-year-old U.S. activist Gloria Steinem told a press conference.
They had "real" and "valuable" exchanges with DPRK women in Pyongyang through telling each others' human stories, she added.
"We have done what no one imagine woman could do," said Gbowee. "It's the first step in the right direction. Every little step is the right step in the right direction."
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate said they had accomplished their mission of conducting citizen-to-citizen diplomacy, observing the life of DPRK women and enhancing communication between the North and South.
The woman activists arrived in Pyongyang on Tuesday. The held an international peace symposiums and shared their thoughts and experiences with DPRK women regarding putting an end to violence and war.