Tensions on the Korean Peninsula
Geneva, 24 November 2010
It is with great concern that we received the news about the escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula. Yesterday’s use of artillery and reports of casualties on Yeonpyeong Island in the Yellow Sea are especially serious examples of incidents that stretch back to 1953 when the Korean War ended, without a ceasefire.
During the past several decades, the World Council of Churches has been engaged in peace and reconciliation efforts on the Korean peninsula. The World Council of Churches’ unequivocal position has been that the use of force and military power will not resolve the problems that deprive the Korean people’s aspiration for peace and reconciliation. The recent violent incidents also demonstrate once again how the unresolved divisions between the two Korean states pose a serious threat to peace and stability in the region. The whole people of the Korean Peninsula deserve a common future with justice and peace.
In the interests of people in both countries and their neighbours in Northeast Asia, the World Council of Churches urges the authorities in both North and South Korea to refrain from actions that exacerbate the tensions. We pray for God to protect all who live under threat and sporadic violence and all who yearn for peace and good relations between neighbours. We call for the governments of North and South Korea to demonstrate the genuine will to return to peace negotiations that will lead to peaceful co-existence and mutual respect, and to engage in a new process of confidence-building measures at the earliest possible date.
Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
WCC general secretary