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Rev. Jesse Jackson: N. Korea needs food, trade not sanctions, starvation

All Headlines 20:50 July 26, 2018

By Park Boram

SEOUL, July 26 (Yonhap) -- Renowned American reverend and politician Jesse Jackson on Thursday called for increased efforts to bring North Korea out of its isolation, saying the country needs food and trade, not sanctions and starvation.

"My heart is on fire. I am excited with the new possibility for a break of peace on this region," Rev. Jackson said in a press conference, a day before South Korea celebrates the 65th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice which ended the 1950-53 Korean War.

"I hope tomorrow will be the last armistice day and officially make tomorrow a peace day from then on," he said, calling for "a treaty to be signed to end the war."

"Sixty-five years after the war is too long. ... We must follow hope and healing, not battle by fear and hurt," according to Jackson.

The minister, who had worked closely with Martin Luther King for the latter's Christianity-driven activism for racial reconciliation, arrived last Sunday for a week-long trip here at the invitation of a minor South Korean political party, the Minjung Party. Jackson previously visited Seoul in 1986 when he met with Kim Dae-jung, who was then an activist for democratization under house arrest but who went on to become a president.

"South Korea is prosperous (but) poverty abounds in North Korea. We are in prosperity, but live still in fear," he said. "Men cannot live by prosperity alone. We must live in hope, not in fear and the two (Koreas) must not stop dreaming the dream of one big tent where we are all in, not out."

Jackson also gave credit to President Moon Jae-in's tireless engagement efforts with North Korea, which he said led to the landmark meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump and the ensuing agreement to freeze military exercises on the two sides. "Moon was right," he stressed.

"(Now) they need food and trade, not sanctions and starvation," the reverend also noted, adding that the outside world "should not starve them to a relationship."

"Keep reaching out, keep looking up, hope is in there, help is on the way, and peace will come soon," he underlined. "We will not surrender."

The reverend also called for a series of measures to connect the two Koreas more tightly, including the reunions of families separated by the Korean War and a railroad linking the countries.

"If there's a bullet train from Seoul to Pyongyang, it will reduce the Demilitarized Zone to a museum of things of the past," he said. "Peace is possible. There's no future in war," he added.

"Across the years, we have seen walls and borders," he said, referring to South Africa, Germany and Korea, as well as the U.S. border with Mexico.

"Walls and borders will not protect us from fear," he said. "We must build bridges over the walls and borders."

This image shows Rev. Jesse Jackson during his week-long visit to South Korea that started July 22, 2018. (Yonhap)

pbr@yna.co.kr
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