After the United States (US) - Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) summit concluded, World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit gave thanks to God for what he called “an important first step on the path to a more peaceful and secure future in the region.”
The Singapore Summit occurred after a period of unprecedentedly dangerous and escalating confrontation. However the leaders of the US and DPRK declared their commitment to establishing new relations in accordance with the desire of their peoples for peace and prosperity, and to joining their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace on the Korean Peninsula. The DPRK also reaffirmed its commitment made in the Panmunjom Declaration of 27 April 2018 to work towards complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The WCC has worked for more than 30 years for dialogue, engagement and people-to-people encounter as the means for resolving confrontation and division on the Korean Peninsula. “As the joint statement signed by both leaders acknowledges, the detailed and difficult work of translating these mutual affirmations into action is now just beginning,” said Tveit. “We call upon the leaders of both nations to remain committed to the path of dialogue for peace, and to resist impulses to revert to the confrontational rhetoric of the past.”
Tveit added that the WCC will continue and expand its efforts with and through the churches of the USA, North and South Korea to build bridges of trust and mutual understanding between the peoples of all three countries, and to assist in overcoming the patterns established by decades of tension, hostility and isolation.
“Among other important confidence building measures, we call for suspension of future US-South Korean joint military exercises, and for the sanctions regime against the DPRK to be eased,” Tveit said. “We especially call for the Singapore Summit to be swiftly followed by a formal declaration of the end of the Korean War, and for work to begin on a peace treaty to replace the 1953 Armistice Agreement so as to bring the suspended state of war to an end and to create more conducive conditions for resolution of the current challenges in the region.”
Tveit concluded: “And we pray that the commitment to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula will give impetus to global nuclear disarmament efforts without which freedom from this existential threat can never be secured.”