Build up the body of Christ. Support the Pentecost Offering.

Promoting peace: Women to speak out against U.S. military presence in South Korea

‘Connecting the Dots’ episode will air on International Women’s Day of Peace and Disarmament

by Darla Carter | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — Women committed to peace in South Korea will be featured on the next episode of the “Connecting the Dots” webinar series, which takes place from 8-9:30 p.m. Eastern Time on May 23.

The episode, coming up on International Women’s Day of Peace and Disarmament, will focus on the impact of the United States having a military presence on the Korean Peninsula for nearly 80 years.

U.S. troops arrived in the southern portion of the Korean peninsula in September 1945 as part of a post-war settlement of World War II, and there are about 28,500 troops stationed there today, according to the webinar description.

Ahnkim, Jongae

During “Connecting the Dots: Korean Women’s Struggle Against the U.S. Military Bases on the Korean Peninsula,” panelists will share firsthand experience with living with the U.S. military presence and discuss the implications. The webinar will be presented in Korean, but English interpretation will be available. (Register here.)

Sharing their knowledge and insights will be the following guests:

  • AhnKim, Jongae, a representative of Women Making Peace, who will give an overview of the history of the U.S. military presence in Korea.
  • Choi, Sung-hee, a peace advocate with the Gangjeong Peace Network, who will speak on the struggle involved in the construction of a naval base that was completed in February 2016 in Gangjeong, Jeju Island of Peace, and what’s happened since then.
  • Lim, Yoon Kyung, a peace advocate with the Pyeongtaek Peace Center, who will speak on the expropriation of Daechuri in Pyeongtaek by the Korean government in March 2006 to provide a site for Camp Humphreys, and the ongoing struggle after construction.
  • Son, So-hee, a resident of Seongju against Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, an American anti-ballistic missile defense system.

Choi, Sung-hee

“I hope all those who deeply care about peace will participate, especially those in the PC(USA),” said Unzu Lee, Presbyterian World Mission’s regional liaison for east Asia and a member of the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Militarism Working Group. “I anticipate the participation of some from South Korea as well.”

The Militarism Working Group is co-sponsoring the webinar with Presbyterian Peace Fellowship as part of the ongoing “Connecting the Dots” webinar series, which strives to help viewers understand militarism through a faith lens, in keeping with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Matthew 25 invitation.

Lim, Yoon Kyung

The upcoming webinar will serve as a reminder of the Korean War, which has never officially ended, and its devastating impact on families. The webinar also will provide a vital female perspective on the impact of war and militarism.

“It’s been known that women experience war very differently than men,” Lee said. “While it is still true that men still make up the majority of the combat forces, the majority of those killed at war times are women and children.”

Son, So-hee

Also, “wherever U.S. military bases exist, (the) sex industry exists, and violence against women is perpetuated,” Lee said. As the “late Betty A. Reardon, who pioneered the field of peace education has contested, there is a direct connection between sexism and the war system. Women around the globe demand peace, and Korean women are among them.”

Lee believes that the webinar also will help to counter the dominant narrative heard by Americans about Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), also known as North Korea.

“Most in the U.S. have only heard a single narrative about the Korean War and the DPRK,” Lee said. “The narrative about the DPRK only demonizes DPRK and we forget that the people who live in North Korea are as human as we are.”

Members of the webinar audience will hear about several action steps they can take to support peacemaking efforts, including promoting legislation to achieve binding peace on the peninsula, opposing joint military exercises by the U.S. and the Republic of Korea, and joining Korea peace advocacy groups, such as the Presbyterian Peace Network for Korea.

To register for the webinar, go here. If you have questions, contact the Rev. Kurt Esslinger and Unzu Lee, mission co-workers based in South Korea, at or

Creative_Commons-BYNCNDYou may freely reuse and distribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes in any medium. Please include author attribution, photography credits, and a link to the original article. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDeratives 4.0 International License.

  • Subscribe to the PC(USA) News

  • Interested in receiving either of the PC(USA) newsletters in your inbox?

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.