ROK Church Leaders React to the Death of Kim Jong Il

Lutz Drescher

[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. Read the rest of this entry »

2011 Common Prayer for the Peaceful Reunification of South and North Korea

[Since the late 1980s when North and South Korean Christians first met, the (North) Korean Christian Federation (KCF) and the (South) Korean National Council of Churches (NCCK) have agreed to an annual joint day of prayer on or near the 15 August liberation day that is celebrated by both parts of Korea. Here is how NCCK General Secretary the Rev. Kim Young Ju explains it: “On August 15, our nation of Korea will celebrate its Independence Day. That day commemorates our liberation from outside occupation, and the renewal of an independent country from ‘Baekdu Mountain (on the northern border with China) to Halla Mountain (on Jeju Island in the south)’. In the years after that Liberation, tragic events led to the present partition of Korea, and the division of our one people. We pray for the day when peaceful restoration will come and our nation will again be one. The NCCK invites all partners to share in our common prayer on Sunday, August 14.” The text of the common prayer follows here. –CanKor.] Read the rest of this entry »

North Korea’s Christian Federation (KCF) responds to delivery of food aid by NCCK

A letter of “deep appreciation” (dated 6 June 2011) was received by the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) from the Rev. Kang Young Sup, Chairman of the KCF.

“In his message to me,” writes Rev. Kim Young Ju, NCCK General Secretary, “he expressed the KCF’s support on various efforts of the NCCK for justice, democratization, peace and reunification especially during a time of difficult circumstances in our country. Rev. Kang Young Sup said that the KCF has started the distribution of the flour to the kindergartens based on an overall distribution plan for 3 townships. He gave details for each kindergarten and indicated that about 31,400 children would benefit from this shipment. The KCF asked NCCK to send additional humanitarian aid for 8 townships in North Korea. They mentioned concrete quantity (480 metric tons of flour) needed for 106,800 children of some kindergartens.”

CanKor previously reported that the NCCK was under fire from the Lee Myung-Bak administration for sending unauthorized food aid to North Korea. (See “Related Articles” below.)

Rev. Kim’s communication was received at CanKor from his assistant, Rev. Ms. Hwang Bo Hyun. (Please read in full here.)

New Role for CanKor Brain Trust Member Victor Hsu

CanKor Brain Trust member Victor Hsu, visiting Professor at the KDI School of Public Policy and Management in Seoul, has been appointed as Consultant on International Affairs for the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK). The NCCK is preparing the upcoming World Council of Churches (WCC) 10th Assembly which will take place in Pusan, RO Korea, in October 2013. Rev. Kim Young Ju, NCCK General Secretary stated that Prof. Hsu was invited to serve in this role because of his extensive experience in international affairs and special knowledge and expertise about the Korean peninsula. It is hoped that the (North) Korean Christians Federation (KCF) will be able to send delegates to the WCC General Assembly in Pusan. Although the KCF has attended several previous WCC events, this would be the first time a North Korean Christian delegation has participated in an event in South Korea. With a trusted relationship to the KCF that spans 25 years on behalf of several organizations, Prof. Hsu is well placed to guide the NCCK and the WCC in this endeavour. (An announcement in Korean is appended below.) Read the rest of this entry »

Will Canada Provide Humanitarian Aid to the DPRK?

CFGB aid to Kyongsong (photo by E. Weingartner)

With DPRK embassies the world over requesting food aid from NGOs and governmental agencies, we were curious as to whether there might be a Canadian response. In response to a letter sent to Canada’s Minister of International Cooperation by CanKor friend Jim Vavra of Calgary, CIDA’s Regional Director General, Asia Directorate, Syed Sajjadur Rahman wrote the following:

On behalf of the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, I am responding to your recent messages in which you inquire about aid provided by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to North Korea.

CIDA does not provide, and has no plans to provide, bilateral development assistance to North Korea. Read the rest of this entry »

North Korea Invites Canadian Performers

Canadian singers, dancers, musicians and other performing artists are invited to the annual arts festival that takes place in Pyongyang in April. CanKor has been advised by the DPRK Mission to the UN in New York that the Festival Organizing Committee is issuing an open invitation to famous artists from other countries to perform their works at the 27th April Spring Friendship Art Festival, which runs from 8 to 18 April 2011 in Pyongyang, DPRK.

Artists to be invited will include dance and song troupes, folk dancers, ballerinas, social dancers, tap dancers, choirs, symphony orchestras, folk music bands, brass, wood instrument and other ensembles, opera singers, pop singers, folk singers, conductors, violinists, pianists, cellists, trumpeters and other players of musical instruments. Read the rest of this entry »

American Mennonite Farmer on his visit to North Korea

Doug Zehr, a Mennonite farmer recently returned from a visit to the DPRK. He was on a delegation evaluating the work of an organization with a humanitarian agriculture project. He was interviewed for the online magazine The Mennonite. Below, an excerpt:

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