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We, the 22 delegates of the National Council of Churches in Korea have completed a pilgrimage from Los Angeles to Chicago and Indianapolis culminating in Washington DC. During this pilgrimage we met church leaders, activists, and politicians with whom we shared solidarity and our hope for peace and an end to war in Korea. Finally in DC we met with the National Council of Christian Churches of the USA with whom we held a consultation in order to articulate our vision for peace on the Korean peninsula.
Together we sincerely appeal to the Obama administration to end the state of War in Korea and to implement the basic conditions of peace by first transforming the Korean Armistice signed on 27th July in 1953 into a peace treaty as soon as possible. It is apparent that the policy and the role of the USA in the Korean peninsula are critically important for making peace in the Korean peninsula, not only as the main party of the Armistice, but also in order to balance power in the Northeast Asia region. As Christians we believe God is calling us to seek reconciliation in the midst of conflict, to build bridges of human respect across divides, and to urge all those in power to end all threats to human security in the following manner:
First, ever since the earliest sanctions imposed on North Korea in January 1950, they have never successfully resolved conflict, but only increased the suffering of vulnerable populations all over the Korean peninsula. Rather than sanctions, we urge parties to restart diplomatic dialogue, humanitarian exchanges, and the cooperation of people. Such exchanges of people and cooperation between North and South Korea will decrease uncertainty and antagonism, while increasing joint projects like the Gaesung joint industrial complex and the Keumgang Mountain tours.
Secondly, we affirm that increased militarization, a perpetual arms race, and threats of destruction on both sides will never lead to peace. In order to restore calm and ease tensions, we urge that the installation of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile and radar system in South Korea should be cancelled. We believe such a deployment of THAAD in South Korea will increase the military tension of neighboring countries, and it will serve to increase the possibility of war rather than peace. In order to prevent mass military catastrophe a peace treaty in the Korean peninsula is crucially important to cultivating peace and cooperation in this region.
Thirdly, denuclearization in the Korean peninsula should be achieved. We envision a nuclear weapon-free zone for all of Northeast Asia. However, this can only happen after we dismantle the enmity and mutual dehumanization between conflicting parties. Therefore, we strongly urge involved parties to immediately enter dialogue toward implementing a framework of peace in the Korean peninsula by establishing a peace treaty, and deconstructing the cold war system.
We sincerely ask you and your administration to take the initiative in replacing the armistice agreement with a peace treaty that will bring a sustainable peace system in the Korean peninsula. We also commit ourselves to this endeavor and invite the global ecumenical community of faith and peacemaking communities to join us in this effort.
God has commanded, “let them turn away from evil and do good; let them seek peace and pursue it.” (1 Peter 3:11) We believe that the peace treaty is of crucial importance in making a lasting peace settlement on the Korean peninsula. It will interrupt the mutual hostility and conflict between North and South. Furthermore, we believe, a peace treaty on the Korean peninsula will lead to peace-building in the North East Asia region as well as in the whole world. God will “guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:79) 2016. 7. 28
National Council of Christian Churches in the USA National Council of Churches in Korea