ASIA/SOUTH KOREA - Christians: a renewed commitment to peace in the Korean peninsula

Thursday, 8 March 2018 peace   human rights   religious freedom   ecumenicalism   local churches   justice   reconciliation   wars   christianity  


Seoul (Agenzia Fides) - Religious leaders, social workers, human rights activists, leaders of civil society organizations renew their commitment to peace in the Korean peninsula: this is one of the messages underlined at the "International Conference on Peace in the Korean Peninsula" which took place in recent days in Seoul. As Agenzia Fides learns, the issue of peace, combined with justice and security was reiterated during the conference, which is today one of the major concerns in Asia in the emerging geopolitical context. Increasing militarization poses a threat to security and peaceful coexistence in this region.
During the conference, Mathews George Chunakara, Secretary General of the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA), talked about "Peace and security in East Asia: transforming divisions and going beyond conflicts", said that the new strategic initiative launched by the United States, known as "Pivot to Asia", is one of the main sources of tension in the region.
In that Asian region there are seven of the ten largest armed forces in the world and five of the seven mutual defense treaties adopted by the United States (with Japan, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines and Australia). The United States, remarked Chunakara, is now explicitly directing its strategic focus on Asia: this will have wider repercussions on Asia's strategic security issues and political tensions.
The Christian leader said: "While people and communities in various parts of Asia are constantly fighting for peace, justice and security, the Churches in Asia have the duty to be active partners in building peace communities, aiming to promote the fullness of life. In this context, the Asian Christian Conference will focus on assisting local Churches, analyzing conflict situations and developing proactive methodologies to participate in the construction of peace. Interreligious consultations and dialogues will also be held to raise awareness and facilitate common action through interreligious platforms".
The building of peace in a globalized and interdependent world is a shared responsibility of sovereign states, of the United Nations and of civil society groups, and also of the Churches, Chunakara underlined: "Christians are called to be peacemakers and to give a testimony of faith".
Noting that the Christian Churches of all confessions have a specific responsibility in working together for peace and reconciliation in the Korean peninsula, the leader has called to cultivate "close collaboration and transparent relations", with particular attention to Christians present in North Korea .
The participants at the Conference committed themselves to embody "the spirit of courage, care, communication, confession, reconciliation and commitment to peace", especially by involving young generations in North and South Korea in this work. The Christian Conference of Asia, for its part, will be promoters in the governments of Seoul and Pyongyang with regards to new initiatives for the construction of peace in the Korean peninsula. (SD) (Agenzia Fides, 8/3/2018)


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