Leaders from Anglican Churches in east Asia have expressed repentance for not playing “a proper role” in the Korean conflict. The comment was made in a communiqué issued at the end of this year’s meeting of the Council of the Church in East Asia (CCEA) – which brings together Anglican provinces from South East Asia, Myanmar, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, the Philippines and Taiwan – a diocese of the US-based Episcopal Church – together with the Anglican Church of Australia and the Philippine Independent Church. They had met at the Ganghwa Peace Observatory, which sits on the de-facto border between North and South Korea.
“First, we repent that the Church did not play a proper role,” Archbishop Moon Hing, the Bishop of West Malaysia, Primate of South East Asia and Chair of the CCEA, said. “Despite having a mission to serve as a peacemaker for peace, we confess that we sometimes have defended them on the side of the people at one end of the division and we humbly repent it.”
The Archbishop said in the communiqué that “we eagerly await God’s will for the peace settlement of the Korean peninsula, and at the same time, appeal to South and North Korean leaders and people and leaders of countries around the Korean Peninsula including the United States, Japan, and stand on the very place of division for the peaceful settlement of the Korean peninsula.”
He said: “We do not support any ideological bias, but as an apostle of Jesus in the twenty-first century, as the ambassador of God, who has been charged with promoting reconciliation and peace amongst the conflicting ones. Peace is a universal value that humanity should share. To expect the co-prosperity of humankind without peace is delusional and false.
“In many parts of the world today, many people are suffering from war, terror and violence, conflicts amongst ethnic and religious groups, environmental destruction and global warming, the collapse of morality, economic inequality, child and women abuse and discrimination, fetishism. Because of these many people are suffering and refugees are floating everywhere.”
He continued: “We must now create a new history of true peace. Beyond the border, we must learn to live together beyond language differences. Internationally, resources and assets must be shared. Justice, peace, tolerance and reconciliation must be done. We must strengthen the international network and realise the value of coexistence and symbiosis in solidarity.
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 April 2018 Inter-Korean Summit at Panmunjom. The summit was welcomed by east Asian Anglican leaders, who expressed hope that it will “open a new path towards peace.”
Photo: Inter-Korean Summit Press Corps
“I sincerely hope that the recent summit between the two Koreas and summit between the United States and North Korea will open a new path toward peace. We also appreciate the fact that neighbouring countries such as China, Japan, and Russia are supporting the peace on the Korean Peninsula.
“It is our hope that these efforts will cooperate and make good a complete denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula, and eventually a peaceful reunification will be completed.”
He expressed hope that “peace of the Korean peninsula will become the foundation for peace in East Asia and the world.”