World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

You are here: Home / Resources / Documents / WCC commissions and working groups / Commission of the Churches on International Affairs / Peace and disarmament / Message of the WCC CCIA on the nuclear weapon test by North Korea

Message of the WCC CCIA on the nuclear weapon test by North Korea

Message of the WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs on the nuclear weapon test by North Korea

04 September 2017

Message of the WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs on the nuclear weapon test by North Korea

The World Council of Churches has repeatedly and with increasing urgency called for steps to be taken to reduce tensions on the Korean peninsula. We have spoken out against military confrontation and other measures that only serve to increase tensions and the risk of potentially catastrophic conflict in the region. The latest nuclear weapon test by North Korea, with a much higher yield weapon estimated to be five times more powerful than the bomb that destroyed Nagasaki, intensifies this spiralling crisis.

North Korea has done enough to demonstrate its capability as a nuclear-armed state. The WCC strongly advocates for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons everywhere, including on the Korean peninsula where the risk of nuclear conflict is currently the greatest. However, the reality of North Korea’s nuclear capability must be recognized and addressed through negotiation, not through escalating confrontation. Nor do we think that further tightening of sanctions against North Korea can help the situation, but would only be likely to harm the most vulnerable people in North Korea while adding to the political tensions. The WCC calls on all parties to refrain from further escalation, to step back from this dangerous precipice, to take the path of dialogue and engagement, and to develop new initiatives for crisis management and tension reduction.

The risk of conflict – whether by design or by mishap – and the magnitude of the consequences are too great to allow the present course to continue, and cannot serve the interests of any party in this situation. Now is the time for diplomacy, not for brinksmanship.

We call on all WCC member churches to hold the people and churches of the Korean peninsula and of the north-east Asian region in their prayers, and to accompany and support them in their witness for peace and reconciliation.

 

Geneva 4 September, 2017

Peter Prove, director of the WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs

World Council of Churches