DORASAN STATION, South Korea — International women activists including Gloria Steinem on Sunday were denied an attempt to walk across the Demilitarized Zone dividing North and South Korea, but were allowed to cross by bus and complete what one of them called a landmark peace event.
The group of 30 women from 15 countries made a final appeal to authorities on both sides to allow them to walk across the demarcation line, but were turned down. The North allowed a South Korean bus to cross the demarcation line to pick them up on the North side of the DMZ and transport them over the border to South Korea.
United Nations Command officials met the group inside the DMZ after they crossed the demarcation line, and allowed them to march again after the final checkpoint on the southern side.
"We were able to be citizen diplomats," said Steinem, the 81-year-old feminism pioneer and author. "We are feeling very, very positive. We have received an enormous amount of support," she said after passing through South Korean immigration.
The group walked, carried banners and sang on the North Korean side of the first checkpoint leading into the DMZ. They were then met by a large contingent of media on the South side. The Koreas have remained divided since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty. The DMZ that divides them is one of the most heavily fortified borders in the world.