American boy plans North Korea trip to pitch peace idea

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
August 11, 2010 21:52

 
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A 13-year-old American plans to visit North Korea this week and perhaps meet leader Kim Jong Il to pitch his idea for a "children's peace forest" in the demilitarized zone.

Jonathan Lee, who was born in South Korea and lives in Mississippi, is scheduled to fly to Pyongyang on Thursday from Beijing with his parents, the family told The Associated Press. They said North Korean officials in Beijing gave them visas Wednesday night.

Jonathan said he expects to meet with North Korean officials and will propose the children's peace forest, "one in which fruit and chestnut trees would be planted and where children can play."

The DMZ that has separated North and South Korea for more than a half-century is one of the most heavily guarded areas in the world. Combat-ready troops stand guard on both sides, and the land is strewn with land mines and laced with barbed wire.

"We know, it sounds crazy," said Lee's mother, Melissa. "When he first said, 'I think we need to go to North Korea,' I looked at my husband and said, 'What?' It was a radical idea."

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