With Growing Threat From North Korea, South Korean President Seeks Church’s Help

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Joshua Gill Religion Reporter
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Newly Elected South Korean President Moon Jae-in met with a delegation from the World Council of Churches (WCC) Tuesday to discuss the church’s role in a peace initiative for the Korean Peninsula as tensions with North Korea mount over the growing missile crisis.

Moon, a former member of the National Council of Churches in North Korea (NCCK), urged the WCC and the NCCK to help work toward his goal of establishing a “peace regime” and achieving denuclearization on the peninsula. Chances for making headway on that initiative are slim in light of Pyongyang’s continued missile tests and threatening behavior toward the U.S.

The president said that while his administration remains committed to establishing peaceful dialogue with North Korea, the North’s recent missile tests have made communication all but impossible at present, reports a WCC press release.  

WCC General Secretary Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit said despite current roadblocks the WCC will continue to work toward President Moon’s goals of a peaceful Korea.

We have a long history of supporting encounter and dialogue between Christians from both North and South Korea, and we are committed to doing more,” said Tveit in the press release.

Tveit also noted Moon’s willingness to meet as mark of progress.

“That President Moon received us so early in his term is a sign of his recognition of the role that churches in Korea and the WCC have in building relations for peace on the Korean peninsula,” he said.

According to Moon, the WCC has played a prominent role in working toward a peaceful Korean Peninsula for over 45 years by promoting dialogue, human rights, and democratization.

The WCC called for church initiatives from over 11 countries at a 2016 international conference in Hong Kong. it hopes to lead the way in reaching a peace treaty that would replace the 1953 Armistice Agreement that ended the Korean War. According to Tveit, WCC remains committed toward that end.

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