Demilitarized zone between the two Koreas. Photo: Grégoire de Fombelle/WCC
22 June 2020
A Joint Ecumenical Peace Message for the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War was publicly delivered on 22 June during a live-streamed event. Co-sponsored by churches and councils of churches around the world, especially from countries that participated in the Korean War, the message describes the Korean War as an “appallingly destructive conflict” after which no peace treaty was ever concluded.
“Seven decades after this war began, it is time to acknowledge that it ended long ago,” the message reads. “New challenges to peace and stability in the region have arisen in the meantime, but we do not believe that the resolution of those challenges will be facilitated by keeping that 70-year-old conflict open.”
The message also calls for suspension and cancellation of any further military exercises in the region. “We appeal for the fulfilment of the letter and spirit of all the agreements that had given so much hope of progress towards peace on the Korean Peninsula – in particular the Panmunjom Declaration of April 2018, the Pyongyang Joint Declaration of September 2018, and the Singapore Joint Statement of June 2018,” the message reads. “We pray for the realization of the vision of the Korean Peninsula as a nuclear-free zone, and a world completely free from the threat of nuclear weapons.”
Throughout 2020, the World Council of Churches, together with the National Council of Churches in Korea, has been observing a Global Prayer Campaign, “We Pray, Peace Now, End the War.” All churches and Christians are invited to pray for the formal end to the Korean War and the replacement of the 1953 Armistice Agreement with a peace treaty.
Following the public presentation of the Joint Ecumenical Peace Message, the Ecumenical Forum for Peace, Reunification and Cooperation on the Korean Peninsula met to share information and analysis on current developments in the region, for mutual updating on relevant initiatives, and discussion of future plans.