Cultivating Peace, Proclaiming Hope conference. Photo: Kim Minji/NCCK

Cultivating Peace, Proclaiming Hope conference. Photo: Kim Minji/NCCK

The World Council of Churches (WCC) welcomed historic meetings on 5-6 March between a South Korean special envoy delegation and North Korean leadership in Pyongyang, the first high-level direct talks between the two Koreas in more than a decade.

As a result of agreements reached in the meetings, the two Koreas will hold a summit at the border village of Panmunjeom at the end of April, and a hotline for communication between the two sides’ leaders will be established.

It is also reported that North Korea will cease nuclear and missile tests while dialogue takes place.

“The reported outcomes of those meetings are powerful signs of hope compared to dangerously escalating tensions and military confrontation of the recent past, and provide major encouragement to President Moon Jae-in’s diplomatic engagement with the North,” said a WCC statement released 7 March.

These developments took place while representatives of Korean churches and international partners – including the WCC – were gathered in a conference organized by the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) in Seoul on the 30th anniversary of the NCCK 1988 Declaration of the Churches of Korea on National Reunification and Peace.

“The WCC joins the participants in the NCCK conference in calling for the international community, and especially the United States of America, to respond affirmatively to these signs of hope, with reciprocal tension-reducing and trust-building measures,” said the WCC statement.

Participants of the NCCK conference issued a communique entitled “Cultivating Peace, Proclaiming Hope,” that welcomes the new steps toward dialogue as an historic opportunity.

Related links:

Communiqué by NCCK conference participants: “Cultivating Peace, Proclaiming Hope

WCC statement of 7 March

WCC member churches in South Korea

“Solidarity more powerful than darkness (WCC press release of 11 December 2017)