South Korea’s National Council of Churches issues Prayers for Peace

[The National Council of Churches in Korea (South) held an emergency prayer for peace on 5 April 2013. After discussing the urgent crisis on the Korean peninsula, the NCCK released this “Urgent Petition for peace on the Korean Peninsula”. –CanKor]

NCCK logoPraying for the peace of God and in the name of the Lord:

The interruption of the work at the joint South and North Korean Industrial Complex in Gaesung is just another sign of the crisis actual arising on the Korean Peninsula. The South-Korean/U.S. American military exercises are aggravating the situation and thus the conflict is rapidly approaching the next stage of danger of a confrontation between South and North Korean military forces. North Korea’s third nuclear test, the UN’s violent propagandistic sanctions towards North Korea and the American high-tech weapons being used in the large scale Korean-American joint military exercises, etc. escalate the crisis on the Korean Peninsula. In these circumstances, the irresponsible, alarming and offensive statements of both South and North Korean authorities’ are driving the citizens of both countries into fear. The National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK), which for a long time has desired the nation’s reconciliation, and longs for peace and reunification, opposes the movement toward this catastrophic situation and cannot suppress a severe anxiety. We call on all Korean churches which are striving for justice, and all Christian believers who are striving to make peace and become guardians of history, at this time to hold firmly a responsible attitude to this issue. In the following petition we express the earnest prayers of Korean Christians for peace on the Korean Peninsula and humbly ask for your participation.

1. We pray for the normalization of the situation at Gaesung Industrial Complex

Even in the distinctive circumstances of the Korean Peninsula, Gaesung Industrial Complex is the heart of economic cooperation and peacekeeping and facilitates prosperity between North and South Korea. Responding to the current military exercises, North Korea has limited the access to Gaesung Industrial Complex, which is threatening the basis of peace. Even though there may be the possibility of a hostile confrontation between South and North, the agreement from the North-South Summit about the work of Gaesung Industrial Complex has to be maintained. The South-North Korea Summit established Gaesung Industrial Complex to make peace and efforts to damage this work should be stopped. South and North Korean authorities need to restrain from mutual contempt as well as the alarming and offensive verbal threats. To normalize the situation, it is necessary to protect Gaesung Industrial Complex as a stronghold for peacekeeping on the Korean Peninsula.

2. We pray for the termination of the Korea-U.S. military exercises

Since 1976, the joint Korean-American Military Exercises starting with Team Spirit, Key Resolve and Eagle, have been aggravating the confrontation between forces on the Korean peninsula and resulting in mutual threats with state-of-the-art weapons. It should be noted that the large scale Korean-American military exercises on the Korean peninsula are to simulate ‘emergency incidents’ and as a result are a showcase to advertise US military weapons. In contrast to being labeled a ‘regular annual military exercise’, the present exercise has succeeded in presenting to the public state-of-the-art bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons, like the B-2 and B-52. Thus it not merely the North Korean military threats, but also the excessive proclamation of war to our citizens, is further promoting the crisis. Such military exercises are a threat to peace on the Korean Peninsula, and in order that the confrontation between North and South Korea not intensify further, they must be stopped.

3. We pray that both South and North Korea proceed with dialogue immediately

The excessively hostile language and offensive rhetoric of South and North Korean authorities, especially of the respective military personnel, which leads to menacingly facing and aggravating each other, is bringing about the danger of an easy occurrence of a military collision. The North and the South Korean authorities have to follow the spirit of the Inter Korean Basic Agreement, the 6.15 Joint Agreement from 2000 and the 10.4. Declaration from 2007. They have to face each other with respect, and for the promotion of peace on the Korean Peninsula they need to hold a responsible position and immediately start a dialogue. We must remember that through the dialogue that took place in the meetings between Kim Il sung and Moon Ik Hwan or Jimmy Carter, in the past we had the experience of changing the complicated situation between South and North and the state of being at the brink of war. Now it is strongly required that dialogue for peace on the Korean Peninsula take place by sending an emissary to intervene or another way.

4. We pray for the resolution of the roots of military confrontation

The actual crisis results from the fact that during the five years of the last government the inter-Korean relations were ruptured, and the military confrontation has to be blamed on the former government. In order to demonstrate distinctiveness from the past government, President Park Geun Hye should carry out a policy of peace and reconciliation. Peace on the Korean peninsula and the solution to the North Korean-American hostile relations will be secured when, instead of the competitive purchase of weapons and military threats, the agreements to provide the light-water reactor etc. are honoured. The NCCK believes this will completely resolve the North Korean nuclear issues. Accordingly, at the upcoming Korean-American summit, President Park Geun Hye must provide a solution for dealing with this issue, removing the roots of military aggression and opening the way for peace on the Korean Peninsula.

5. We request a new will and the prayer of all Christians for the situation

Korean Christians have been influential in facilitating the re-opening of the interrupted inter-Korean relations and contributing to make peace. We now once again join in our faith and prayer to approach the Lord’s peace on the Korean peninsula, and we sincerely ask for your participation. It is now time to overcome a false peace under the shadow of military forces and achieve a true peace overflowing with the Lord’s justice. Let us walk together with hope. Let us all stand together and pray to jubilate the 1995 proclamation of genuine peace on the Korean peninsula, restoring the history of the Korean Christians and a Korean brotherhood overflowing with eternal joy.

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