The promise of diplomacy on the Korean Peninsula
Leaders from four United Methodist groups — Church and Society, Global Ministries, the United Methodist Korea Peace Committee and United Methodist Women — join together to pray for peace, the work of diplomacy, disarmament and denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.
Come now, let us reason together. (Isaiah 1:18a)
Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace and pursue it. (Psalm 34:14)
We welcome the Singapore Summit between the U.S. and North Korea as an important step toward peace. It is our hope and prayer that the people on the Korean Peninsula will finally live in peace.
We join the Rev. Olav Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches, in his call on June 12 to “the leaders of both nations to remain committed to the path of dialogue for peace, and to resist impulses to revert to the confrontational rhetoric of the past.”
The task of building a just, durable and lasting peace in the Korean peninsula is long and arduous. For years, the ecumenical community has joined the Korean people in expressing their desire for peace. Today, government leaders also acknowledged that we will reach peace only when we walk together.
The recent meetings that produced the Panmunjeom Declaration (between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un) and the Singapore joint statement (between US President Donald Trump and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un) demonstrate the importance of tireless diplomatic efforts, rather than military threats, in paving the way to a just and lasting peace treaty.
The spokesman for United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the Singapore summit an “important milestone,” even as he said, “the road ahead requires cooperation, compromise and a common cause.” The support of the multilateral community to the efforts of President Trump, President Moon and Chairman Kim remains vital for the diplomatic endeavors that must be zealously pursued in the days ahead.
The United Methodist Church, speaking on peace, maintains that “we…must build the conditions for peace through development of confidence and trust between peoples and governments.” (2016 Book of Resolutions, #6129 “The United Methodist Church and Peace”)
The larger goal of disarmament, including denuclearization, is important and necessary, both in the Korean peninsula and in the world. Peace will be achieved, not by weapons that wound, but by diplomacy that heals. We urge all parties to sign and ratify the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
We especially commend the joint commitment to begin healing longstanding wounds of war by returning the remains of those killed in action during the Korean War, and working on identifying those still missing in action. The announcement by the U.S. president of a halt to joint military exercises is another welcome confidence-building measure.
Ecumenical accompaniment and solidarity are needed now more than ever. The United Methodist general boards of Church and Society and Global Ministries, the United Methodist Women, and the United Methodist Korea Peace Committee remain steadfast in accompanying our Korean brothers and sisters in their quest for lasting peace and sustainable prosperity.
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung (Wisconsin) declared, “I am prayerful that our Council of Bishops, our General Board of Global Ministries, and all the other agencies of The United Methodist Church will work together to provide opportunities to visit North and South Korea, and engage in whatever ways are most helpful to promote peace and harmony.”
As part of our ongoing solidarity, we invite people to join us in Washington, D.C., for a Korean Peace Festival July 26-28th to mark 65 years since the Armistice and renew our call for a permanent peace treaty. For more details, visit www.umcjustice.org/koreapeace.
General Board of Church and Society
General Board of Global Ministries
Harriett Jane Olson
Chief Executive Officer
United Methodist Korea Peace Committee
United Methodist Women