WCC to Review Prospects for Korean Peace and Reunification

The World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) will host an international consultation in Japan, to discuss the issue of Korean reunification and disarmament. The gathering, entitled, “Korean Peninsula - a flashpoint in North East Asia" is expected to produce a “a common plan of action for advocacy at the national, regional and international levels for peace and reunification of the Peninsula.”

The October 17-21 meeting carries on the efforts of the WCC to support the development of human rights in North Korea. Earlier this year, the WCC executive committee met in South Korea, and issued a statement that called for an end to the “grave humanitarian crisis of hunger, chronic malnutrition and related diseases facing the North Korean people.”

The keynote speaker for the event will be Dr James Laney – a former US ambassador to South Korea. Laney will explain the prospects of the six-party talks between the North and South Korea, Russia, Japan, China and the United States, to halt the risk of nuclear proliferation. Laney will also offer an assessment of the six-party talks and the possibilities of an amicable settlement.

The former director of the WCC Commission of Churches in International Affairs (CCIA) Prof. Ninan Koshy, will review the “major geopolitical changes in Asia” and lead a discussion on the decades following the end of the Cold War.

Prof. Han Bae Ho will meanwhile address the prospects of bilaterial relations with North and South Korea.

“The WCC and CCA leadership is hopeful that the meeting will contribute to defusing tensions and overcoming the present stalemate in the Korean peninsula,” the WCC wrote. “The results of the meeting will be widely shared with WCC and CCA member churches as well as with governments engaged in the six-party talks.”

The Japan gathering will also mark the 20th anniversary of the 1984 launch of an ecumenical initiative for peace and reunification.