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Rochester woman walks more than 300 miles to promote peace with North Korea

Kyong Juhn, who’s making the journey from Rochester to Pinewood on foot in the Walk for Hope and Peace, walks along the Paul Bunyan State Trail Friday with Craig Wood of Veterans for Peace. Juhn is walking to support peace between North Korea and South Korea and the United States. Jillian Gandsey / Forum News Service

BEMIDJI, Minn.—Twenty-one days and about 300 miles after she left Rochester on foot, Kyong Juhn arrived at the Bemidji visitor center around 11 a.m. Friday morning, May 25, but she's not done yet.

Juhn will finish her journey in Pinewood, northwest of Bemidji, making her total walk 323 miles. This shadows her mother, who walked the same length from North Korea to South Korea in 1950 to escape the turmoil and communist regime during the Korean war.

"This project is a part of paying my homage to my mother who escaped North Korea and her commitment and her dedication so she can inherit liberty and freedom to us, her children," she said.

The walk highlights the growing tensions between the United States and North Korea, and for Juhn, it helps her feel closer to her mother.

Walk for Hope and Peace is an art project Juhn created to raise awareness about the political tension between North Korea and the United States and to encourage people to raise their voices together and promote peace and hope.

Throughout her journey, Juhn was walking alone for only two miles. The rest of the time, she was joined by people who lived in the area she was hiking at the time and veterans who supported her cause.

In particular, she was joined by members of Chapter 27 of Veterans For Peace, an international organization of military veterans, military family members and allies. According to their website, the group wants to increase public awareness of the causes and costs of war.

As for the timing of her walk, Juhn said, "Last spring, we had a very heated discussion between North Korea and our President Trump, so ... I became very sad and I realized there's nothing I could do about it. And then my sister in South Korea did start to worry ... there might be a second war on the Korean Peninsula."

Juhn wanted to see what she could do as an artist, not wanting to sit back and relax knowing she's safe when family and friends in South Korea are not.

"I realized there's nothing I could do," Juhn said, smiling despite feeling the strain of the three-hour hike. "Except walking."

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