May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass,
like showers that water the earth.

In his days may righteousness flourish
and peace abound, until the moon is no more. (Ps 72:6-7, NRSV)

New Year 2023 has dawned in the midst of nuclear war crisis on the Korean Peninsula. The trilateral military cooperation between South Korea, the U.S. and Japan is strengthened in the new Cold War international order. In response to this cooperation, North Korea’s military provocations have continued to denounce the South Korea-US-Japan military cooperation.

The current president of South Korea, Yoon’s remarks of “certain punishment” and “superior preparation for war” led to a sense of danger and tension against North Korea, and North Korean leader Kim’s response, “the nuclear force is the deterrence of war and the protection of peace and stability, but if it fails, we will carry out the second mission,” revealed the brinkmanship tactics.

We urge the South and North Korean authorities to immediately stop the brinkmanship tactics that drive the Korean Peninsula into a whirlwind of threat of nuclear war by risking the lives of the people.

Even after the failure of the 2019 North Korea-United States Hanoi Summit, South and North Korea have made efforts to maintain peace on the Korean Peninsula while minimizing military tensions. However, the Yoon’s administration, which is based on the new Cold War order strengthened by the US-China competition and the war in Ukraine, has unilaterally taken a hardline stance toward North Korea. While the North is continuing its battle of contradictions with missile provocations and multiple drones flying into South Korean airspace, the South is increasing its military resources to gain superiority over the North. It is escalating the military tensions of nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia.

In this current crisis, we demand that the two Koreas seek a peaceful approach to restore mutual trust through dialogue and pursue common security and coexistence. The establishment of a peaceful means is the only solution to overcome the current crisis on the Korean Peninsula. The Constitution of the Republic of Korea stipulates a peaceful reunification policy and efforts to maintain international peace.

We urge the government of South Korea to honor and abide by the Constitution through the path of peace diplomacy through dialogue and building mutual trust.

In the midst of the global new Cold War order, the South Korean government’s “Bold Initiative” only escalates the military tensions and fails to create a spirit of peaceful coexistence. The “Bold Initiative may provoke North Korea to adopt a law on the DPRK’s nuclear force policy.

We ask the South Korean administration should honor the will of the people who seek a path for peaceful coexistence. We should work toward the Korean Peninsula that feels the warm wind of peace blowing freely.

Rev. Kang Yeon-hong, NCCK president

Rev. Lee Hong-jung, NCCK general secretary