07.09.15 | News, Press Reports

Peace at last!

70 years of liberation but still no peace – International Peace Forum in Seoul, South Korea

Gebetsbänder und Flaggen am Zaun der innerkoreanischen Grenze in Imjingak sind Symbol für den Wunsch nach Frieden und Wiedervereinigung auf der koreanischen Halbinsel. (Foto: EMS/Schumacher)

Presbyterian churches in South Korea are hosting an Ecumenical Forum on Peace in North-East Asia. Delegates from 20 countries are expected to attend in Seoul from 10 to 13 September. Among them will be the General Secretary of the Evangelical Mission in Solidarity (EMS), Jürgen Reichel. "Current events on the border between North and South Korea demonstrate the urgency of this international meeting. Without a peace treaty – as opposed to a ceasefire – the situation will continue to escalate throughout the whole region. On the other hand all the political actors, the major powers and the governments of both Koreas have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo," says Reichel.

In his opinion, the military build-up all around the East Asian coast is alarming. "Whenever South Korean churches speak about a 'peaceful reunification' and pray for this, they are going against the main stream within the entire region. However, no-one should underestimate the resilience of Christians in the country. They gave ample proof of this during the struggle against the military dictatorship in South Korea up until 1987," continued the EMS General Secretary. At the forum in Seoul he will speak about the Ecumenical Movement and its commitment to peace in North-East Asia.

With regard to 2015: the organisers have chosen a significant year to hold the peace forum on behalf of the people in Korea and in the entire North East Asian region. The end of World War II 70 years ago was also the end of Japanese colonial supremacy. The Korean churches intend to assume the role model of the Jewish commemoration culture and "forgive but not forget". Memories of the atrocities up until 1945, the following years of the Korean War and gratitude for the growth of South Korea since that time are leading the churches today towards a commitment of peace and reconciliation in the region.


Press contact:
Corinna Waltz, waltz@ems-online.org, Tel. +49 711 636 78 77, +49 178 620 00 53

Jürgen Reichel, reichel@ems-online.org, Tel. +49 178 636 78 31 www.ems-online.org