Source: Asia Pacific Ecumenical News APEN, October 28, 2015
Ecumenical visit heightens hopes for better relations between the two Koreas
Twelve Korean and international church leaders arrived in Pyongyang on 23 October for a meeting of the executive committee of the Ecumenical Forum for Peace, Reunification and Development Cooperation on the Korean Peninsula.
The National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) and the Korean Christian Federation (KCF), the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) are behind this initiative.
At the 10th WCC Assembly, held in Busan in 2013, the world churches resolved
to cooperate to realize peace and reunification on
the Korean peninsula.
In 2014, the WCC, NCCK and KCF met in Switzerland and agreed to hold the meeting this time in Pyongyang.
Participating in the visitors’ team to the North are one of the WCC Presidents Chang Sang, WCC International Affairs director Peter Prove, NCCK general secretary Kim Young-Ju, and NCCK Justice and Peace Committee director Shin Seung-Min.
The East Asia liaison officer at Germany’s Evangelical Mission in Solidarity, Lutz Drescher, who is known for his deep concern for peace on the Korean peninsula, and Park Kyung-Suh, former UN ambassador for human rights are also on the visiting team.
The four-day forum, which began on the 26 October, will seek ways to develop solidarity among the churches related to NCCK, WCC and KCF for cooperation and support activities.
“The discussions will focus on how the world church can join in solidarity with the North Korean church and participate continuously in North Korean social development,” the Kukmin Daily b in Seoul quoted an NCCK source as saying.
The forum is likely to discuss the role of the churches in South Korea.
On 25 October, the visiting team members took part in Sunday worship at Bongsu Church and visited Pyongyang Seminary.
They will leave Pyongyang on October 30.
The Kukmin Daily said that next month there will be a large-scale meeting of religious figures from South and North Korea.
The Korean Conference of Religions for Peace, a consultative body representing seven religious organizations, will gather at Geumgangsan on 9-10 November for its South-North meeting of religious persons.
According to the Kukmin Daily reporters Narae Kim and Marion Kim, the recently-held reunions of divided Korean families and the visits of religious leaders may possibly open the gate to South-North civilian exchanges and stimulate improved relations between the divided Korean people.
Meeting of Christian International Forum Held
Pyongyang, October 28 Juche 104 (2015) (KCNA) -- A meeting of the Steering Committee of the Christian International Forum for the peace and reunification of the Korean Peninsula and cooperation for development took place in Pyongyang Wednesday.
Present there were delegates from the Christian Federation of Korea, the World Council of Churches and those from Christian organizations of Canada, Germany, Britain, the U.S., and south Korea.
The meeting was held on the theme of "On present situation and the action program for Christian organizations of countries for peace and reunification of the Korean peninsula". Measures of Christian organizations for strengthening solidarity for the reunification of Korea were discussed and a Pyongyang appeal was made public at the meeting.
The appeal said that the participants in the meeting witnessed the reality in the DPRK which is advancing dynamically full of confidence despite the vicious moves to isolate and stifle the country and economic blockade, adding that the tension that almost went out of control was defused thanks to the north-south high-level urgent contact that was arranged at the initiative of the DPRK in last August. It pointed out that the political confrontation and threats still persist.
The appeal underscored the need for Christian organizations to wage a widespread campaign for the implementation of the June 15 joint declaration and the October 4 declaration, for a stop to the aggressive and provocative military exercises and the use of armed forces that harass stability and cause tension on the Korean Peninsula, for the lift of economic sanctions, for a stop to the act of abusing human rights issue for escalating confrontation and leaflet-scattering operations and other acts aimed at inciting hostility, for the replacement of the Armistice Agreement with a peace treaty and for supporting dialogue aimed at mutual recognition between the north and the south, peaceful co-existence and reunification.
The appeal also expressed concern over the advance of forces overseas by dint of Japan's "right to collective self-defence" and the re-interpretation of Article 9 of the Pacifist Constitution.
조선반도의 평화와 통일, 개발협력을 위한 그리스도교국제연단 운영위원회 회의 진행
(평양 주체104(2015)년 10월 28일발 조선중앙통신)
조선반도의 평화와 통일, 개발협력을 위한 그리스도교국제연단 운영위원회 회의가
28일 평양에서 진행되였다.
회의에는 조선그리스도교련맹과 세계교회협의회, 카나다, 도이췰란드, 영국, 미국,
남조선의 그리스도교단체 대표들이 참가하였다.
《현 정세와 조선반도의 평화와 통일을 위한 각국 그리스도교단체들의 활동방향》의
주제로 진행된 회의에서는 조선의 통일을 지지하는 련대운동을 강화해나가기 위한 그
리스도교단체들의 대책적문제들이 토의되고 평양호소문이 발표되였다.
호소문은 회의참가자들이 악랄한 고립압살책동과 경제봉쇄속에서도 커다란 신심과
활력에 넘쳐 힘차게 전진하고있는 조선의 현실을 목격하였다고 하면서 지난 8월 조선
민주주의인민공화국의 발기로 북남고위급긴급접촉이 마련되여 통제불능의 악화된 긴
장성이 해제되였으나 의연히 정치적대결과 위협이 계속 가증되고있는데 대하여 지적
그리스도교단체들이 6.15공동선언과 10.4선언의 전면적리행, 조선반도의 정세안
정을 파괴하고 긴장격화를 불러오는 침략적이며 도발적인 군사연습과 무력행사의 중
지,경제제재의 해제, 있지도 않는 《인권문제》를 대결목적에 도용하고 삐라살포와 적대
감을 고취하는 행위의 중지, 정전협정을 평화협정으로 교체, 북남사이 호상인정과 평
화공존, 통일을 지향하는 대화를 지지하는 운동을 광범히 벌려나갈데 대하여 호소문은
또한 호소문은 일본의 《집단적자위권》에 의한 해외무장진출과 평화헌법 9조사항에
대한 재해석행위에 대하여 우려를 표시하였다. (끝)