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WCC: hopes for Six Party Talks (2004)

WCC sees hope in Six Party Talks

SEOUL, Korea The World Council of Churches (WCC) has appealed to the international community to help lift sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and restore humanitarian aid and assistance to overcome hunger and malnutrition in the country.

"The grave humanitarian crisis of hunger, chronic malnutrition and related disease facing the North Korean people are a challenge not only to the churches, but also to the conscience of the entire international community," the WCC executive committee which met here in a statement said.
Acknowledging that the churches and related agencies have addressed these problems and helped prevent "a major catastrophe," the 24-27 August executive committee urged them to continue to deal with the humanitarian needs of the North Korean people.
The WCC executive committee, which met in Asia for the first time, called on churches in Korea and outside to mobilise support to the multilateral process of Six Party Talks, started in August 2003, now in the third round.
"This initiative provides a sign of hope," the statement said.

It noted that the parties involved in the Six Party Talks -- South Korea, North Korea, Russia, Japan, China and the USA "have agreed to work towards a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and most share the view that North Korea’s concern over its security must be given due consideration and resolved."
The WCC statement on Korea has mentioned the "pioneering role" the Korean churches and the WCC have played in promoting discussions on the peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula.

An international conference at the Japanese city of Tozanso in 1984 is cited as "an effective framework," which provided an opportunity for church leaders from north and south Korea to come together for sharing concerns of peace and reconciliation, and for prayer and worship.

The Churches Commission on International Affairs has decided in May 2004 to focus on peace and reunification of the Korean Peninsula till the next WCC assembly to be held in Brazil in 2006, according to the statement.

The church body expressed concern over reports of human rights violations in the DPRK and denial of access to international human rights organisations. "The promotion and protection of human rights and human dignity are an integral part of the mission of the churches," the statement said. It urged the USA "not to take pre-emptive military action against the DPRK" or use nuclear weapons against it.

The statement also expressed solidarity and appreciation for the "courageous witness and leadership" of the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) and its member churches, and upheld the sovereignty of the Korean people and their determination for the future.

The executive committee meeting, hosted by the NCCK, reviewed the various programs of the WCC and administrative matters. The members also visited the member churches of the WCC in Korea.
Aktuelles (Kyodan News)



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