A Roundtable for Peace on the Korean Peninsula convened in Atlanta, Georgia (USA) on 8-12 November, building on decades of progress by the Korean Methodist Church, United Methodist Church, and World Methodist Council, as well the Korean Christian Federation and the World Council of Churches (WCC).
The roundtable sought to generate contributions that will specifically help enable next steps for the church in fostering peace in the aftermath of the achievements of this year, including the Panmunjom Declaration of 27 April, and the Singapore summit of 12 June between the leaders of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the United States.
Peter Prove, director of the WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, reflected that the WCC’s engagement in the search for peace, reconciliation and reunification of the Korean peninsula dates back more than 30 years.
“The WCC strongly supports the political steps towards dialogue and peace taken through the Panmunjom and Singapore summits,” he said. “In this moment of new fragile hope, the WCC is convinced that efforts for a peace treaty to replace the Armistice Agreement should have paramount importance – as a means of drawing a line under the painful history of the Korean War, and encouraging a fresh engagement with the current realities of the peninsula.”
The roundtable released a statement reflecting that, during this year of the 65th anniversary of the Korean War armistice, great progress has been made in opening a new dialogue for peace between North and South Korea, as well as between North Korea and the USA.
“We commit ourselves to the peace and reunification of the Korean Peninsula in order that we may create a civilization of co-prosperity and sang-saeng (mutual living) in and beyond South and North Korea, including all North-East Asia and eventually the whole world,” the statement reads.
Following a proposal for its establishment approved by the 32nd general conference of the Korean Methodist Church, the roundtable was adopted and formed officially in 2016 at the World Methodist Conference, with a goal of playing a consolidated, unifying role for the global Methodist church as it promotes peace for Korea, while standing in solidarity with the broader ecumenical peace movement.
WCC statement welcomes hopeful turn in Korea (WCC press release 20 June 2018)