7th China-Japan-Korea YMCA Peace Forum

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(This article is based from the Youth’s Common Declaration on the 7th China-Japan-Korea YMCA Peace Forum and written on behalf of all the youth participants.)


The 7th China-Japan-Korea YMCA Peace Forum was held on 16-20 December 2017 in Gwang Ju, Korea- a city which is a symbol of Korean democracy movement and where many youth sacrificed for making a better society. The youth from the three countries shared their vision on creating a society of justice and peace. Through this peace forum, the youth shared the non-peaceful situations and reached an understanding on their common peace issues, based on which the joint tasks could be carried out.


The situations related to peace issue that poses threats to youth can be categorized into the following. Firstly, the threat to youth’s daily life. The youth in Korea, China and Japan face challenges in terms of youth employment with overly long working time, high cost of living and heavy burden of family. These factors make them lose their presence of mind and vision for future, leaving them with no more alternatives for a better life and no more energy for attending important political and social matters. Secondly, the threat to war in Northeast Asia. Northeast Asia has been in a temporary armistice since the end of Korean War. However, North Korea's recent development of nuclear weapons and missiles has thrown a gloom of war over the region. Also, the THAAD missiles stationed at South Korea created a tension between Korea and China. In addition, the major political party of Japan is trying to change the pacifist Constitution, which pulls the region closer to war.


Despite these non-peaceful situations, the youth wants to make a peaceful future for all. The peaceful society that the youth envisions and expects is a society in which youth are able to freely express their opinions and actively exert political influence; a society in which people treat each other fairly without judgments; and a society that is open and friendly to minority groups.


The Korean, Chinese, and Japanese youth proposes and commits to the following joint actions:

Action Plan:

• Establish a YMCA Youth Committee for Peace in Northeast Asia that will coordinate peace activities, share different perspectives on the common history of Northeast Asia region, and take part as a youth working group for the preparation of the peace forum. The Youth Committee will be composed of youth representatives from three countries who meet at least once a month online.

• Run a Peace Weeks Relay Program for young people from the three countries. The plan is to take actions in successive three weeks in May, selected dates shall bear special significance to peace, that aims to promote awareness on current peace issues among young people. Information about the actions undertaken will be shared in effective and creative ways such as making a video clip.

• Advocate for integrating peace education into joint youth programs. With the support from national and local YMCAs, the Youth Committee advocates for inclusion of peace education into existing and newly established joint youth programs. The peace education includes common history from perspectives of the three nations, peace challenges and concerns shared by young people, and peace issues that are specific to the hosting cities of the programs.


The youth confirmed that this forum’s top priority is to keep our eyes to the history of East-Asia region and keep striving for making justice and peace. The youth also suggest that the topic of the next peace forum should include History Recognition and Youth’s Indifference to social injustice. To handle these topics, the youth are expected to be aware of voices of the marginalized people’s and the sins of ignoring such cry. The youth believe that tackling these issues will result for peaceful Northeast Asia countries.

Written by Goshi Ito, NCY Japan