The National Council of Churches of Korea calls to prayer over the Yeonpyeong Island Incident

27 11 2010

(NCCK Statement, Seoul, 26 November 2010) …For nearly three decades, the NCCK and the global ecumenical fellowship have worked together to these ends. We have slowly built bridges and established regular, productive contact with the Korean Christians Federation in the North and we have shared our common prayers for peace and reunification of the Korean peninsula with the global fellowship of Christian churches through the World Council of Churches.

We have sought to provide a model that governments, politicians and diplomats might follow, and we have therefore rejoiced at the successes of the two Inter-Korean summits of June 13-15, 2000 between President Kim Dae-jung and Chairman Kim Jong Il and of October 2-4, 2007 between President Roh Moon-hyun and Chairman Kim Jong Il. We are convinced that they provide a good basis and framework for the two sides to work together towards a shared future.

On 15 August this year, the NCCK, the KCF and churches in other parts of the world simultaneously prayed for peace and the reunification of Korea, using in part the following words: “We pray that mistrust and confrontation between the North and the South should die down, mutual trust should be built up through reconciliation, cooperation and exchanges. The June 15 unification mood that we have all enjoyed should be revived in full blossom, and therefore the warm atmosphere of unification should blow its way through all this peninsula.”

Given the current tensions, the NCCK further notes these important commitments in the October 2007 summit peace declaration:

1. South and North Korea committed themselves to work for mutual respect and trust in order to overcome differences in ideology, and system.

2. South and North Korea committed themselves to ease military tensions, hold ministerial defense talks in November in Pyongyang to discuss this and inter-Korean economic cooperation.

3. The two sides agreed on the need to end the current armistice and establish permanent peace.

4. The two sides agreed to create a special peace zone around Haeju in North Korea and nearby areas.

5. South and North Korea committed themselves to promote humanitarian cooperation and expansion of the reunions of separated families.

The tragic events in recent days underscore the importance of pursuing this course. We urge the parties to the stalled Six-Party Talks to follow this same path, to cease exploiting the divisions and differences and to put the welfare of the people at the center of their concern. The situation must not be allowed to deteriorate further and all military actions or retaliation must be avoided we urge all our partners to pray for peace on the Korean Peninsula. We would welcome our partner councils and ecumenical organizations to support us also by urging all governments to work together to help resolve the dangerous crisis through diplomacy and peaceful means.

The World Council of Churches has repeatedly asserted that the future of the Korean Peninsula is ultimately to be determined by the Korean people. We shall fulfill this calling despite the challenges and obstacles because we believe that God is faithful and will perform mighty acts on our land. We are immensely grateful for the solidarity, prayers and support of the churches around the world. We give thanks to God for you.

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