Korean religious leaders call for peace accord

If crisis in the Korean peninsula is not settled, peace in Northeast Asia will collapse, says archbishop

Korean religious leaders call for peace accord

At a prayer rally held at Won Buddhism’s Seongju Shrine, religious leaders, including Archbishop Hyginus Kim, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea (far left), sang for peace. (Photo by The Catholic Times of Korea)

ucanews.com reporter, Seoul
South Korea

August 3, 2017

Religious leaders have called for a peace accord between the two Koreas during an event commemorating the truce that ended the Korean War in 1953.

Catholic, Protestant, Won Buddhist and native Korean religion Cheondogyo leaders called for an accord during a jointly organized peace prayer at the Won Buddhist Seongju Shrine on July 26.

The event was organized to commemorate the 64th anniversary of the truce which ended the Korean War (1950-1953). The truce went into effect on July 27, 1953. It was originally seen only as a temporary measure before a peace accord could be agreed upon.

Since the war, the North and South have remained bitter enemies and in recent months, tensions have been high over North Korea’s nuclear weapon and missile development program.

“If peace in the Korean peninsula is not settled, the peace of Northeast Asia will collapse, thus the Korean peninsula will be the powder keg for another war,” said Archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee-joong of Kwangju, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea at the event. “For the peace in this land, we need a peace accord, not a truce,” he said.

Archbishop Kim also spoke about the deployment of the controversial Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system in the region.

“Its deployment was done without social consent, so it should be reconsidered. For peace, we should take each other’s hand and work for the peace accord in Korea,” Archbishop Kim said.

“It is a delusion to settle peace with arms. THAAD cannot bring peace in Korea.”

The deployment of the U.S. missile defense system is designed to guard against North Korean attacks but has evoked threats from Pyongyang and has also upset economic giant China.

A THAAD battery is located not far from the Seongju shrine which is the birth place of Jeongsan, the second master of Won Buddhism.

Reverend Kim Young-joo, general secretary of the National Council of Churches in Korea and Han Eun-sook, administrative chief of Won Buddhism attended the event as did Auxiliary Bishop Simon Ok Hyun-jin of Kwangju and Auxiliary Bishop John Bosco Chang Shin-ho along with some 400 followers of the four religions.

The North and South have been divided since Korea’s liberation from the Japanese at the end of World War II.

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