Paju prepares for peace festival near DMZ
CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — An international peace festival will be held in Paju City near the Demilitarized Zone from Aug. 1 to Sept. 11, South Korean officials say.
Gyeonggi Province event director Kang Joon-hyuk said “Peace Festival 2005: Beyond the DMZ” will mark the 60th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japanese imperial rule.
The festival will include cultural performances and academic programs along with other peace-themed events in the city, about five miles south of the DMZ, he said.
About $10 million was spent on facilities, including outdoor theaters and an artificial pond, for the festival around a grass park near the Imjingak observatory overlooking North Korea, he said.
About 800 South Koreans and 110 foreign performers from 17 countries, including Great Britain, Romania, Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Cuba, Brazil and Australia will participate, Kang said.
Guests include CNN founder Ted Turner, East Timor’s Foreign Minister and 1996 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jose Ramos Horta, along with representatives from the United Nations Children’s Fund.
Kang said the festival aims to promote the spirit of peace.
Organizers are interested in getting U.S. soldiers to participate in festival events, such as a magic show that will feature the disappearance of DMZ wire and a fireworks display over the Imjin River. The highlight of the festival, he added, will be a “candlelight pavilion.” In exchange for donations to UNICEF, participants will be able to light candles at a 150-foot-long altar inside the pavilion, he said.
People who donate to the Eugene Bell Foundation, which provides humanitarian aid to North Korea, will have their names and wishes for Korean reunification carved into bricks used to make sculptures for the festival, Kang said. Also included are live concerts featuring classical, jazz, hip-hop, bossa nova and traditional African music as well as the “Peace Ensemble,” in which soloists from countries in regional disputes will perform together.