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WCC statement on developments of Korean peninsula

WCC statement on developments of Korean peninsula

17 June 2020

The World Council of Churches is alarmed and dismayed by the latest developments on the Korean Peninsula. The destruction of the joint liaison office in Kaesong - opened in 2018 to facilitate communication and cooperation between the two Koreas - and renewed threats of military action in the Demilitarized Zone represent a serious reversal of the advances made so spectacularly in 2018.

Together with its members and partners in Korea and around the world, the WCC has worked for more than 30 years to facilitate encounter and dialogue between North and South Koreans, and to promote an end to the conflict and division on the Korean Peninsula. Particularly after the high hopes raised during 2018, and coming just as we approach the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War, yesterday’s events are a bitter disappointment and a dangerous escalation.

Nonetheless, there have been many fluctuations between hope and despair during the more than 30 years of ecumenical engagement for peace on the Korean Peninsula. However, our faith and Christian calling is our source of hope and commitment for peace, and it is steadfast because our God “ is a God not of disorder but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14,33). In these challenging moments, overwhelmed by worry, fear, doubt and despair, the words of St Paul to Ephesians of his time, become meaningful, powerful and reassuring today: “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us” (Ephesians 2, 13-14).

We call on both North and South Korea, and all relevant parties, to refrain from further escalation, to return to the table of dialogue, and to renew commitment to a patient step-by-step process of tension reduction and trust-building. We appeal to all parties to mark the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War not with renewed confrontation, but as an opportunity to bring that long-suspended state of war to an end, and to move towards the establishment of a secure and durable peace.

Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca,
World Council of Churches interim general secretary