KCF appoints new leadership

Erich Weingartner with Rev. Hwang Min U, chief minister of Chilgol Church, and Rev. Ri Jong Ro in Pyongyang, November 2012. (Photo by Stuart Lyster)

Erich Weingartner with Rev. Hwang Min U, chief minister of Chilgol Church, and Rev. Ri Jong Ro in Pyongyang, November 2012. (Photo by Stuart Lyster)

We reported last year on the death of Rev. Kang Yong Sop, Chairman of the Central Committee of the Korean Christian Federation (KCF), the only officially authorized Protestant church body in North Korea. (see “North Korean church leader Kang Yong Sop dies“, 23 January 2012)

For more than a year, this vacancy has been unfilled. This morning I received a fax from Pyongyang announcing the appointment of Rev. Kang Myong Chol as the new Chairman of the KCF. Kang Myong Chol had previously served as Chair of the Pyongyang City KCF.

At the same time, Rev. Ri Jong Ro was appointed KCF Vice-Chairman. Ri started in KCF as an interpreter, accompanying Kang Yong Sop at numerous international meetings, as well as visits by KCF delegations to churches around the world. He later studied theology and was ordained. He subsequently served as Director of the KCF International Affairs Department, maintaining relationships with the World Council of Churches and various denominations such as the United Church of Canada.

Text of his fax reads as follows:  Read the rest of this entry »

United Church of Canada issues statement on the crisis in the Korean Peninsula

[The United Church in Canada on 15 March 2013 issued the following “Statement on the Crisis in the Korean Peninsula.” The original text can be accessed here. –CanKor]

UCC crestThe United Church of Canada is gravely concerned about the escalation of tension in the Korean Peninsula. We fear for the safety of the people in North and South Korea, and the whole of Northeast Asia, should a war erupt.

We are concerned by the ongoing joint military exercises of the United States and the Republic of South Korea and the mounting threats of military actions from the Governments of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the United States, and South Korea. We fear that these provocative actions are increasing the danger of armed confrontation in the region.

The current crisis in the Korean Peninsula points to the unresolved issues in the region, including the failure to obtain a peace treaty to end the state of war, and the international sanctions against North Korea. The resolution of these issues requires re-engagement of all parties in finding lasting solutions to the problems in the Korean Peninsula.

We call on the Government of Canada to help in promoting an atmosphere conducive to renewed negotiations among the states involved in the conflict by renewing its engagement in confidence-building measures and contact with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea urging the Governments of the United States and of North and South Korea to return to the negotiating table. Read the rest of this entry »

Canadian FM responds to UCC letter

Lawrence Cannon, Canadian politician

Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon

Last November, when Canada announced it was instituting a policy of “controlled engagement” with the DPRK as well as new economic sanctions, the United Church of Canada (UCC), jointly with the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) and the Presbyterian Church in Korea (PCRK) wrote a letter to Prime Minister Harper stating their concerns.
The UCC received a response from Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon which can be found here:

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NGO Initiatives in DPRK: The United Church of Canada

The United Church of Canada (UCC) received a request from the Pyongyang-based Korean Christian Federation (KCF) regarding a project on Maple Tree planting. They asked for maple tree saplings. The UCC proposed that the Ministry of Forestry send a group to visit Western and Eastern Canada to look at forestry there, speak to experts and do research to determine which practices and saplings best fit their purpose. It appeared that the Ministry received the UCC’s recommendation. Someone from the Ministry was going to meet the UCC delegation on its DPRK visit, however the meeting was cancelled at the last minute. The UCC has not heard from DPRK since then.

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CanKor Report #27

CanKor Report first issued on Tuesday, 6 February 2001 when Canada, following a wave of EU countries, first established diplomatic relations with the DPRK. We reprint it here for your interest.

CANADA HAS ESTABLISHED DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITH THE DPRK!  For most CanKor readers, this is welcome news, expected for the past four months.  We dedicate this entire issue of CanKor to the announcement.  The FOCUS section offers some additional background, and a sampling of press responses to date.  Of special interest is a letter sent to Minister Manley by Canadian churches who, together with a group of academics, have been at the forefront of efforts to move Canada in the direction of engagement with DPRK.

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