Korean Churches Call for Immediate Dialogue to Resolve Crisis
Responding to rising tensions and threats between the United States President and President Kim Jong-un of North Korea, the National Council of Churches in Korea on August 10, 2017 sent an “Emergency Letter To President Moon Jae-In Urging Immediate Dialogue” with North Korea in order “to independently resolve the neo-Cold War crisis in the Korean peninsula.”
“We stand with our partners and the international faith community in saying this is wrong—the excessive militarization and the escalating hostility must end, before a war that is truly devastating begins.”
Derek Duncan, area executive for East Asia and the Pacific
In the letter, signed by Rev. Kim Young Ju, General Secretary, and Rev. Rah Haek Jib, Chair of the Reconciliation and Reunification Committee, the National Council of Churches in Korea stated it “hoped to see the nation’s long-cherished wish of a peaceful reunification finally come true with [President Moon’s] leadership,” but described how recent increases in military capabilities and harsh threats between the United States and North Korea had led to “fear of war spreading among the people.” Specifically, the letter “humbly ask[s President Moon] to immediately dispatch a special envoy to North Korea,” in order “to transform the present crisis into an opportunity and open the door for dialogue.”
Responding to the letter from the NCCK, Derek Duncan, area executive for East Asia and the Pacific, said “Not only are tens of millions of lives at immediate risk from armed conflict, but the entire global community, economy and environment would be damaged in the event of nuclear war.”
Duncan echoes the need to step back from the brink of war and pursue peaceful options: “As critical as the situation has become, there are still diplomatic and other efforts that have yet to be fully tested. In any case, the threats and promises of annihilation back and forth are very troubling. Whether the rhetoric is strategic or mere bravado, it creates a highly volatile situation, where the risk of accidental or impulsive strikes is great. We stand with our partners and the international faith community in saying this is wrong—the excessive militarization and the escalating hostility must end, before a war that is truly devastating begins.”
The Emergency Letter To President Moon Jae-In Urging Immediate Dialogue can be read on the National Council of Churches in Korea website.