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Gloria Steinem Lands in North Korea for Peace March Across DMZ

The rare crossing of the DMZ, approved by both Koreas, is to take place Sunday.
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/ Source: The Associated Press

PYONGYANG, North Korea — A group of female peace activists including Gloria Steinem and two Nobel laureates arrived in North Korea's capital on Tuesday for a march across the Demilitarized Zone that they hope will bring world attention to calls for a resolution to tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

The rare crossing of the DMZ, approved by both Koreas, is to take place Sunday.

North and South Korea have technically been in a state of war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty. Their border along the DMZ is one of the most heavily fortified in the world and it is highly unusual for crossings to be allowed.

The event has raised controversy, with critics accusing the group of being propaganda pawns for the North Korean government. But participants say the march is intended to be a symbolic step toward ending the tensions between the Koreas, not an endorsement of either side's policies.

"There is nothing in this action that reflects prioritizing of one or another government," the group said in materials released to the media.

Steinem, 81, said she was immediately interested in joining the march when she was contacted by organizer Christine Ahn, a Korean-American peace activist.

"It seems so surrealistic that here we are with the DMZ" despite the end of the Cold War in other parts of the world, Steinem said in Beijing before the group's arrival in Pyongyang. Also on the trip are Nobel Peace Prize laureates Mairead Maguire and Leymah Gbowee.

— The Associated Press