WCC general secretary calls for end to increased tension on Korean peninsula


[The general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, has called for an end to the increase of tensions on the Korean peninsula and encourages the parties involved to move immediately to dialogue about peace, reconciliation and reunification. The WCC comprises 349 churches, denominations and church fellowships in more than 110 countries and territories throughout the world, representing over 560 million Christians and including most of the world’s Orthodox churches, scores of Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist and Reformed churches, as well as many United and Independent churches. –CanKor]

Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit (Photo by Peter Williams, WCC)

Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit (Photo by Peter Williams, WCC)

The situation on the Korean Peninsula is of increasing concern to the WCC not only because of the impact on its member churches in South Korea, but also for the Korean Christian Federation in North Korea with which the WCC has developed long term dialogue and relationships.

The WCC is scheduled to celebrate its 10th Assembly in the South Korean city of Busan from 30 October to 8 November this year. The assembly is held once every seven years and brings together Christians from around the world in one of the most diverse gathering of churches.

“We have no plans to have our assembly anywhere else but in Busan,” Tveit said. “The theme of the assembly is ‘God of life, lead us to justice and peace.’ It is now that the Korean peninsula needs a message of justice and peace.”

“The fact that the assembly is being held in Korea is from our perspective an expression of the hope of the worldwide church and churches in Korea for pursuing peace and reconciliation on the there,” Tveit said. “Peace on the Korean peninsula is possible without hostilities.”

In a February statement about the situation on the Korean peninsula, Tveit said there is a need for stronger engagement, a diplomatic solution and inter-Korean cooperation instead of hostile acts.

“The current situation demonstrates an urgent need for the members of the Six-Party Talks, the six governments most responsible for peace and human security in Northeast Asia, to return to their own earlier path of negotiations and confidence-building,” he stressed.

“For the sake of all in the region, particularly those living in both North and South Korea, the WCC and its member churches call for an end to the on-going threats and intimidation, which if not checked and ended could result in a catastrophic situation that no one wants,” Tveit said this week from the WCC offices in Geneva, Switzerland.

“We ask for prayers for all of the churches in South and North Korea,” Tveit said. “We stand with our brothers and sisters in our South Korean member churches who during the past 60 years have worked hard, along with the WCC, to reach out to the churches in North Korea with the goal of seeking reunification and reconciliation.”

“We invite all Christians to pray for the Korean peninsula and that God’s will, for justice and peace, be done,” he said.

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