The National Council of Churches in Korea has drafted an open letter to South Korean President Lee Myung-bak calling for a resumption of food aid to North Korea. Open letter included below. Korean-language version can be found here.
President Lee Myung-bak,
We pray that God’s Grace be with you and your ministry.
Expressing our deep regret on the situation of escalating tension between the two Koreas and of cutting off dialogue, exchange and cooperation, the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) which has been praying and working for peace, reconciliation and well-being of people on the Korean peninsula prays for reopening of dialogue and cooperation based on the spirit of agreements and joint statements by South Korea and North Korea for improving their relationship.
All churches and member Christians belonging to the NCCK believe that dialogue and cooperation on people’s level, especially of religious groups should be continued and humanitarian food aid to people in North Korea who are suffering from serious food shortage should be resumed even in this stagnant situation of dialogue and cooperation between the two Koreas.
Receiving the news that many people in North Korea in this severely cold winter and with food shortage is loosing lives and worsening their health and there will be more lives starving in March and April due to lack of food products, the NCCK has decided to support food through the Korean Christian Federation in North Korea and is ready to submit its approval to the Unification Ministry.
We firmly believe that humanitarian aid to North Korea must be carried out in any case because we are sure that supporting people in need in any circumstance is the spirit of the Red Cross and to support people with food in North Korea who are starving is our faithful commitment as Christians.
As we regard turning away our face from and being indifferent severe economic problem and the suffering of people of North Korea as obstacles in building of peace system and national peaceful reunification, we urge you, the President, for your decision on the following demands and for allowing our humanitarian support program to North Korea:
1. We as concerned Christians demand that humanitarian food aid and medical support on the government level for lives and health of people in North Korea should be resumed.
2. We demand that humanitarian food aid and medical support on people’s level should be approved if one on the government level is not affordable due to the present stringent North and South relationship.
3. In the case of delaying food sending at the Inchon port due to the government’s disapproval, we notify that we are going to send food as humanitarian support through international organizations or the third countries. We ask your understanding of our decision because we cannot left alone offerings and donations from Christian members aiming supporting people in North Korea while we stand by and look on them dying of hunger in the great difficulty.
February 21st, 2011
Rev. Kim Young Ju
General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in Korea
- Aid Agencies Complete Needs Assessment in North Korea (CanKor.ca)
- Summary of Food Security Assessment by US NGOs (CanKor.ca)
- US groups report alarming malnutrition in NKorea (Korea Herald)
- U.S. aid groups urge food for North Koreans after survey (reuters.com)
- Warning on N Korea food shortages (bbc.co.uk)