Rev. Hong-Jung Lee at the panel

Rev. Hong-Jung Lee, former general secretary of National Council of Churches in Korea during the plenary session on Living Fellowship during the WCC central committee meeting taking place on 15-21 June 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland.


Lee’s approach to peace and justice in the Korean Peninsula is rooted in the concept of "weaving the web of life for healing and reconciliation.” He emphasizes the significance of interdependency and self-emptying as spiritual pillars for sustaining the web of life. By deepening interdependency and overcoming human avarice, he argues that justice and peace become inseparably interconnected, forming the foundation for people's life security.

“Healing and reconciliation are the core of Gods economy of life and the spirituality and strategy of Gods ministry. Without an ongoing process of healing and reconciliation, there will be no integration between justice and peace, no life-giving and no life-abundant, and therefore no peoples life security,” said Lee.

Lee highlighted the importance of face-to-face encounters between Christians in North and South Korea. Through international ecumenical meetings and events, through the World Council of Churches and peace conferences, Lee has had various opportunities to meet with leaders of the Korean Christian Federation (KCF) and bridge the gap between North and South Korea. “My first encounter with the leaders of the Korean Christian Federation happened at the German Kirchentag in Leipzig in 1997. Since then, I was able to encounter the leaders of the KCF at least one or two times every year at the various international ecumenical meetings,” shared Lee.

According to Lee, the division of the Korean Peninsula is not the end of the Korean people's history. “If we see a history of the Korean people from a perspective of the whole story of Gods salvific action in the world and of what God wants for the world, the division of the Korean Peninsula is not the end of the history of the Korean people,” said Lee.  He sees the division as a human-induced wilderness, a violation of divine covenant, and a contradiction to God's will. His vision encompasses healing, reconciliation, justice, and peace, leading to a life-abundant reunification of the Korean nation.

Lee advocates for replacing the armistice established in 1953 with a peace agreement. He argued that the armistice perpetuates the division and Cold War mentality, hindering the progress towards peace. He further highlighted how the geopolitical landscape, with global superpowers redesigning a Neo-Cold War Order, exacerbates tensions on the Korean Peninsula.


9 September 2022, Karlsruhe, Germany: National Council of Churches in Korea Rev. Hong Jung Lee shares opening remarks at an Ecumenical Forum for Peace, Reunification & Development Cooperation on the Korean Peninsula (EFK) – Informal meeting taking place at the Erlöser Kirche (United Methodist Church) in Karlsruhe.


“Today in the midst of the multifaceted crises driven by the global climate crisis, the continuing mutations of COVID 19, the US-China hegemonic conflict, the Russo-Ukrainian war, etc., the global superpowers are continuously designing and redesigning a Neo-Cold War Order by separating the world according to alliances and partnerships based on their own interests and values,” said Lee. By transitioning from an armistice to a peace agreement, Lee believes the division and cold war system can be unraveled, paving the way for peace and stability.

The importance of the WCC's role in peace-building during the WCC 11th Assembly in Karlsruhe was emphasized by Lee. He highlighted the resolution adopted at the assembly and the agreement at the Ecumenical Forum for Korea followed by the assembly, which call for various actions to promote peace on the Korean Peninsula, including global ecumenical prayer movements, peace education, advocacy for human rights, UN initiatives, demilitarization, and nuclear disarmament.

Lee stressed the need for a global ecumenical prayer movement, particularly on the "Sunday of Prayer for the Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula" before 15 August. He emphasized that prayer, not weapons, is the means for Christians to contribute to peace. He also proposed enhancing peace education and establishing a civilian alliance of peace diplomacy to analyze anti-peace realities, advocate for policy changes, and create platforms for dialogue among the youth.

Lee urged the governments of both North and South Korea to prioritize healing and restoration, addressing division-driven injustices and upholding human rights. He advocated for redirecting national budgets towards peaceful coexistence and lifting economic sanctions that violate human rights.

In addition, he called for UN-initiated peace-building efforts based on previous historic peace summits, and for halting military drills and cooperation in the region to encourage positive responses from North Korea. Lee proposed mobilizing global civilian power to transform the DMZ into an eco-peace zone and expanding it to encompass the entire Korean Peninsula. He also advocated for a nuclear-free zone.

Lastly, he encourages active participation in the Korean Peace Appeal Campaign, involving member churches of the WCC that were combatant states in the Korean War.

According to Lee, Korean churches play a crucial role in promoting peace on the Korean Peninsula, transcending ideology and cold war divisions. “By constantly affirming and practicing a spiritual-ethical stance which goes beyond the cold war-oriented ideological boundaries, the Korean churches can be an indispensable moving force of leading the two Koreas to a peaceful co-existence,” shared Lee.

Lee concluded that the global ecumenical movement must change its perception of the Korean people, empowering them as active agents in stabilizing tensions caused by divisive governments. “I believe, with all these positive peace-making efforts, differences must be cherished, disputes resolved by peaceful means, nature respected by showing prudence in handling all living species and natural resources, and all these responsibilities shared multilaterally. In this course, using the Korean Peace Appeal as an entry point, the churches and Christians in the world can organize a local peace-building network weaving the web of life for healing and reconciliation of the Korean Peninsula inter-locally at the global level,” said Lee.


The Rev. Lee Hong-jung, general secretary of the National Council of Churches in Korea, participates in a candlelight vigil for peace in the Korean Peninsula on December 9, 2017, in Gwanghwamun Square in Seoul, South Korea. The ecumenical Advent vigil was part of "A Light of Peace" campaign sponsored by the World Council of Churches and the National Council of Churches of Korea.
The candlelight vigils were held in Seoul December 3-9, after which churches throughout the country planned to continue the vigils in small towns and villages.