Friday, 11 August 2017

Korean Churches call for dialogue

The National Council of Churches in Korea has sent an emergency letter to South Korean President Moon Jae-In urging for dialogue to ease military tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

In its letter, the NCCK reiterated its hope for the peaceful reunification of the Peninsula but warned rising tensions had caused grave concern among the people of Korea who are fearful of war.

“We understand that you are also deeply concerned, but the lives of the people in South Korea should not be threatened by the provocative acts of the US and North Korea,” the letter states.

“The road to peace is a difficult one, but the harder it gets the more important it is that we keep the principle. Dialogue is meant to resolve such extreme situations, which is why its effect is so highly valued. “We cannot start sincere dialogues when we place blame for the opponent’s extreme actions or when we insist various preconditions for dialogue.”

The NCCK expressed its willingness to actively participate in the dialogue, requesting the President to send a special envoy to North Korea to open dialogue.

The World Council of Churches also issued a statement this week expressing its concern at the threats and counter threats exchanged between North Korea and the United States.

It warned that fresh sanctions adopted by the UN Security Council against North Korea would be counterproductive and urged the international community to work towards a context where dialogue can occur.

“The North Korean sanctions regime, already the most stringent ever developed, has not demonstrated any positive impact in its stated purpose of promoting a return to negotiations,” the statement read.

“If the international community truly seeks negotiations for peace on the Korean peninsula, then it must work to deconstruct the barriers to dialogue and engagement which sanctions have become.”

It also called on all governments to cease testing and deployment of nuclear weapons in the region and called on the international community to move towards a peace treaty for the Korean Peninsula.

This Sunday, Uniting Church members are encouraged to join in prayers for peace in Korea.

The President of the Uniting Church in Australia, Stuart McMillan has called on church members to uphold all Koreans in their prayers in the hope of a peaceful way forward to dialogue and a de-escalation of tensions.