Jul. 10, 2019

WCC “hoping and praying for fresh life” for peace on the Korean Peninsula

Human peace chain along the 500 km long Demilitarized Zone between South and North Korea. Photo: John C Park/NCCK

10 July 2019
“hoping and praying for fresh life” for peace on the Korean Peninsula
At the Ecumenical Forum for Peace, Reunification and Development Cooperation on the Korean Peninsula, being held in Bangkok on 10-12 July, the World Council of Churches (WCC) reiterated its call for peace on the Korean Peninsula.

World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit delivered an opening message via video to the forum on 10 July, referring to the significant message of hope from Korean Christian Federation and National Council of Churches in Korea expressed at the recent WCC Central Committee meeting.

“WCC reaffirms its commitment to working with our North and South Korean partners, and with all our member churches and partners around the world, for peace, reunification and development cooperation on the Korean Peninsula,” Tveit said. “After so many years of confrontation and antagonism, and with the greatly increased risks of catastrophic conflict that such confrontation has entailed, the WCC has welcomed and affirmed the political initiatives for peace taken between the two Koreas and between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the USA.”

But, Tveit continued, peace cannot be made in one day. “WCC has long been concerned by the counter-productive effects of the stringent sanctions regime against the DPRK, because of the obstacles it poses to diaconal cooperation and humanitarian support in times of natural disaster, and because of the negative impact on the political environment for dialogue and peace-building,” he said. “The WCC supports an incremental step-by-step approach to building trust and promoting peaceful co-existence on the Korean Peninsula.”

Forum participants will update each other regarding their activities and initiatives for peace, reunification and development cooperation on the Korean Peninsula. Updates will include reports on the Atlanta Roundtable for Peace on the Korean Peninsula, held 9-11 November 2018, as well as the “human peace chain” along the 500 km long Demilitarized Zone between South and North Korea, held in April.

A special session will focus on the sanctions regime and its impact on dialogue for peace, diaconal ministry and development cooperation on the Korean Peninsula. The forum will conclude with brainstorming and a recommitment to the next steps and ecumenical initiatives to support dialogue for peace and reunification.

Video message of WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdMztGkBVpM)