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Korea agreement described as “the beginning of a new history of reconciliation and peace”

Posted on: April 30, 2018 1:56 PM
South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in (righT) and North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un shake hands during a press conference at the 2018 Inter-Korean Summit at Panmunjom.
Photo Credit: Inter-Korean Summit Press Corps

A national ecumenical body which includes the Anglican Church of Korea has welcomed Friday’s historic agreement between the leaders of North and South Korea. The Panmunjom Agreement, which was signed at the 2018 Inter-Korean Summit by the Republic of Korea’s President Moon Jae-in and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un. Amongst a range of peace-building initiatives, the Panmunjom Agreement includes a commitment to the denuclearisation of the peninsula.

Responding to the summit and agreement, The National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) said that it was “deeply moved by the step made towards a new history of reconciliation and peace on the Korean peninsula.” In a statement signed by the Revd Lee Hong Jung, NCCK’s General Secretary, and the Revd Ra Haek Jib, Chair of the NCCK’s Reconciliation & Reunification Committee, the ecumenical body said that the summit had “deeply moved the heart of all Koreans and the people in the world.”

They said: “Having recognised the absurdity and pain brought forth by separation, for more than 50 years the NCCK has worked for the reconciliation and peace of Korea while praying without ceasing. Therefore, the NCCK welcomes the historical Declaration pronounced by the two Korean leaders at the Panmunjom Peace House on 27 April, and we show a great respect to the two leaders who eventually worked out the Declaration.

“The NCCK respects the agreed promises in the Declaration that are of great significance for a peaceful coexistence, prosperity, and for reunification in the Korean peninsula.”

They offered their “sincere support” for a number of items in the agreement, including the commitment to replace the 1953 armistice treaty with a peace treaty by the end of this year; and efforts to “build a long-lasting and stable peace in the peninsula through complete denuclearisation.”

They said: “We strongly support the agreement to transform the demilitarisation zone into a “peace zone” and to establish a peace zone in the West Sea. We also support the commitment to cease all hostile military acts.

“We strongly support the agreement to ensure the participation of civilians in the reunification process as seen in the decision to establish a joint liaison office and to resume the reunion events of the separated families.”

They continued: “the NCCK hopes that the agreements are thoroughly enforced to ensure the end of the 70-year-old separation and conflict, and in their stead to bring long-lasting peace in the Korean peninsula.

“Furthermore, we hope that through the North Korea-US Summit next month, there will be permanent peace in the peninsula and we ask that all countries, civil societies and churches actively cooperate.”