From July 10th-12th, 2019, the Ecumenical Forum for Peace, Reunification and Development Cooperation on the Korean Peninsula (EFK) met in Bangkok, Thailand, along with 46 participants from 11 countries. These included delegations from the Korean Christian Federation (KCF) of the DPRK and the National Council of Churches in the Republic of Korea (NCCK).
In the year before the meeting, events in Korea renewed hopes for peaceful coexistence on the Korean Peninsula. More recently though, progress towards peace has not occurred as hoped, and in the absence of such progress some renewed tensions and obstacles to peace have arisen. Despite these disappointments and delays, participants of the consultation celebrated the important steps that have been taken on the path to peace, in particular by North and South of Korea in ceasing hostile acts against each other, pursuant to their respective commitments.
During the consultation, the KCF and NCCK reflected together and from those reflections the EFK put together a statement that, among other things, affirmed the North and South’s desires for national self-reliance, denounced the joint military exercises that increase tensions on the peninsula, called for the full implementation of the DPRK-US Joint Statement created in Singapore, and called for an end to the US and other powers’ policies of hostility and sanctions. The EFK also committed to supporting reconciliation worship services and peace building events around the 70th anniversary of the Korean War coming up in 2020, and they committed to exploring ways in which they can raise awareness of the negative impacts of sanctions, and scale up advocacy for their relaxation and removal. EFK will also look to strengthen NCCK’s efforts to engage global partners in peace advocacy, including things like the Peace Treaty Campaign and the Global Jubilee Prayer Movement during the 2020 Lenten Season, and they will look into ways to include Korean diaspora community representatives from key countries in solidarity with and prayer for peace on the Korean peninsula.
EFK continues to uphold in prayer and to accompany in solidarity Korean Christians, and actively seek alliances with all organizations and people of good will who seek peace on the Korean Peninsula, in the region, and the world.
To read the full report on the meeting in Bangkok, click here.