Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca, World Council of Churches (WCC) interim general secretary, expressed both alarm and dismay at the destruction of the joint liaison office in Kaesong - opened in 2018 to facilitate communication and cooperation between the two Koreas - and renewed threats of military action on the Korean Peninsula.
“Together with its members and partners in Korea and around the world, the WCC has worked for more than 30 years to facilitate encounter and dialogue between North and South Koreans, and to promote an end to the conflict and division on the Korean Peninsula,” said Sauca. “Particularly after the high hopes raised during 2018, and coming just as we approach the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War, yesterday’s events are a bitter disappointment and a dangerous escalation.”
Sauca reflected that there have been many fluctuations between hope and despair during the more than 30 years of ecumenical engagement for peace on the Korean Peninsula, but that the Christian faith is a foundation for steadfast hope and commitment to seeking an end to conflict and division on the Korean Peninsula.
“We call on both North and South Korea, and all relevant parties, to refrain from further escalation, to return to the table of dialogue, and to renew commitment to a patient step-by-step process of tension reduction and trust-building,” said Sauca. “We appeal to all parties to mark the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War not with renewed confrontation, but as an opportunity to bring that long-suspended state of war to an end, and to move towards the establishment of a secure and durable peace.”