[CanKor Brain Trust member Lutz Drescher, East-Asia Liaison Officer of the German Association of Churches and Mission, sent us these two “remarks” by South Korean church leaders on the death of Kim Jong Il. He explains that they are “remarks” rather than “statements”, first because a death is not an appropriate occasion for churches to make formal statements, and secondly because the church leaders are aware that their opinions may not be shared by a majority of churchgoers, let alone the majority of member churches of the National Council of Churches in Korea. “Because of the traumatic experience of the Korean War that last to this day and a Cold War that has not ended,” Drescher states, “all discussions about the future of the Korean Peninsula continue to labour under the shadow of conflicting ideologies. The South Korean people, as well as the South Korean churches therefore remain deeply divided.” We reproduce the two “remarks” here. The German letter by Rev. Drescher may be read here. –CanKor]
A Remark on the death of North Korean Leader Kim Jung Il by NCCK
The National Council of Churches in Korea expresses its sincere condolences on the death of Kim Jung Il, North Korean Leader, and we pray that God’s consolation be with people in North Korea who are in the midst of grieving and suffering. It should not be a moment which is threatening peace on the Korean peninsula and worsening of North and South relationship. We hope that South Korean government take this to ease conflict between North and South, sending condolence delegation consisting of representatives from government as well as from society including religious community and paying its respects to the deceased. And We ask international community to cooperate continuously not taking this for breaking of security on the Korean peninsula, but for building peace on the region of North East Asia.
December 19, 2011
Rev. Kim Young Ju, General Secretary
Rev. Kim Ki Taek, Chair of the Unification Committee
The National Council of Churches in Korea
A Remark on the death of DPRK Leader Kim Jung-Il by PROK
Committed to peace and reunification of the Korean Peninsula, the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK) expresses its sincere condolences to the family and the whole nation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) for the death of Leader Kim Jung-Il. We pray that God’s consolation be with the North Korean people who are in the midst of grieving and suffering, and that the people overcome their deep grief and the North Korean society will be stabilized.
The demise of Leader Kim Jung-Il should not be made as a condition for worsening of the North and South relationship and aggravating tension and threat on the Korean Peninsula. Rather it should be a moment to reflect on the meaning of the North-South Joint Declarations signed by Leader Kim Jung- Il and the two former South Korean Presidents Kim Dae-Jung and Roh Moo-Hyun, and finding means to fulfill the agreements in achieving genuine reconciliation and reunification of the Korean Peninsula.
We hope that the South Korean government take this as an opportunity to ease the conflict between North and South and create peaceful conditions by sending condolence delegation to the DPRK consisting of government representatives as well as from society including representatives of religious communities and paying respects to the deceased North Korean leader.
We request our partners and friends all over the world to pray together with the PROK that this critical moment would be a ripe moment for building peace in the region of North East Asia and not as threat to the security on the Korean peninsula.
December 20, 2011
REV. BAE TAE-JIN, General Secretary, Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK)
REV. HAN KI-YANG, Chairperson, Peace and Reunification Committee, Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK)