2018: NCCK and the Panmunjeom Declaration

National Council of Churches in Korea
“Panmunjeom Declaration”: the beginning of a new history of reconciliation and peace

Today we are deeply moved by the step made towards a new history of reconciliation and peace on the Korean peninsula. The summit which started with the two leaders of Korea crossing the military demarcation line (MDL) has deeply moved the heart of all Koreans and the people in the world.

Having recognized the absurdity and pain brought forth by separation, for more than 50 years the NCCK has worked for the reconciliation and peace of Korea while praying without ceasing. Therefore, the NCCK welcomes the historical Declaration pronounced by the two Korean leaders at the Panmunjom Peace House on April 27, and we show a great respect to the two leaders who eventually worked out the Declaration.

The NCCK respects the agreed promises in the Declaration

that are of great significance for a peaceful coexistence, prosperity, and for reunification in the Korean peninsula.

We sincerely support the following aspects in the Declaration:
1. We strongly support the agreement to replace the armistice treaty with a peace treaty by the end of this year, and to build a long-lasting and stable peace in the peninsula through complete denuclearization.
2. We strongly support the agreement to transform the demilitarization zone into a “peace zone” and to establish a peace zone in the West Sea. We also support the commitment to cease all hostile military acts.
3. We strongly support the agreement to ensure the participation of civilians in the reunification process as seen in the decision to establish a joint liaison office and to resume the reunion events of the separated families.

The NCCK hopes that the agreements are thoroughly enforced to ensure the end of the 70-year-old separation and conflict, and in their stead to bring long-lasting peace in the Korean peninsula. Furthermore, we hope that through the North Korea-US Summit next month, there will be permanent peace in the peninsula and we ask that all countries, civil societies and churches actively cooperate.

April 27, 2018
Rev. Lee Hong Jung, General Secretary
Rev. Ra Haek Jib, Chair of Reconciliation & Reunification Committee
National Council of Churches in Korea

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Korean Conference on Religion for Peace  (26.04.2018)

“Spring is coming.”
The Korea Conference of Religions for Peace (KCRP) was founded in 1986 and has participating members from seven religions. The purpose of KCRP is to foster peace and stability in the Korean peninsula through interfaith cooperation, and it has gained the strong support of religious leaders all across Asia and beyond. Peace in the Korean peninsula is not only our dream, but also our duty to realize.
Since the 2018 Winter Olympics, we have witnessed positive signs of peace in the region, which we hope will blossom like flowers do in the Spring. The upcoming inter-Korean summit on April 27 and the North Korea-United States summit that is expected to be held in May will be remembered as important watershed moments in the history of mankind.
It was only a few decades ago that the world was divided into two in the name of the Cold War. Progress for humanity came to a temporary halt as military competition and confrontation precluded a world of peace and harmony. The last thawing left from the Cold War is the barrier between South and North Korea. When the warmth of mutual dialogue and understanding melts down this barrier, the time will soon come when all the people of the world can be inspired to make efforts to learn to live together.
We call on our government to fully carry out its obligations, not only as a mediator but also as a state directly involved in the matter.
We call on the North Korean government to use this perfect opportunity to put an end to division and break the fetters that have limited and restrained this land for over seventy years. We sincerely hope North Korea will pave the way for the Korean people to live together.
We call on the US government to support the efforts of South and North Korea, and to actively engage in the summit with North Korea as a cornerstone for global peace. The US is a core country that can bring peace to the Korean peninsula.
We call on the Chinese, Russian, and Japanese governments to support the upcoming summits in April and May and all the steps for peace in the future, so that the Korean peninsula, once an arena for rivalry between superpowers, can turn into a land of peace and dialogue.
KCRP looks forward to the arrival of Spring in the Korean peninsula. Spring will bring peace not only in the Korean peninsula but all across the world to all mankind. The seven religions in Korea pray with the deepest earnestness and sincerity for a Spring of peace.

Korean Conference of Religions for Peace(KCRP)

Most Rev. Archbishop Kim Hee-joong, President of the Committee for Promoting Christian Unity and Inter-religious Dialogue, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea, Catholic Church

Rev. Dr. Lee Hong-jung, General Secretary of The National Council of Churches in Korea, Protestant Church
Ven. Seol Jeong, President, The Jogye Order, Buddhism
Rev. Han Eun-sook, Director-General, Won-Buddhism
Mr. Kim Young-geun, President of Sung Kyun Kwan, Confucianism
Dr. Lee Jung-hee, Supreme Leader, Chondogyo
Mr. Park Woo-gyun, President, The Association for Korean Native Religions

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Statement on Korean Peninsula
19 April 2018

The World Council of Churches (WCC) welcomes the recent initiatives to establish meaningful and constructive dialogue between the United States of America and North Korea. According to reports of CIA director Mike Pompeo’s meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, it is apparent that a new openness to constructive engagement has for the time being replaced the dangerously escalating rhetoric between the two nations. This is a very positive sign and important foundation for the planned US-North Korean summit at the beginning of June or end of May.

The WCC especially welcomes the expressed support given by President Trump for the two Koreas “to discuss the end of the war”, during their own summit meeting scheduled for 27 April. The WCC and its partners in both South and North Korea have repeatedly and consistently called for a peace treaty to replace the Armistice Agreement of 1953, in order to definitively conclude the suspended state of war and to enable the current challenges to peaceful coexistence on the Korean peninsula to be addressed more clearly and pragmatically. We are gratified and encouraged that the possibility and utility of this long-overdue step is finally being recognized by the most important parties to this tragic unresolved conflict, which has poisoned relations in the region for so long.

We encourage all parties to continue on this new path of peace, and invite all Christians and people of good will around the world to support all efforts to ease tensions, to sustain hope and to promote peaceful coexistence on the Korean peninsula.
Geneva, 19 April, 2018

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
General Secretary
World Council of Churches

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