From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
WCC: North Korea
"WCC Media" <Media@wcc-coe.org>
Fri, 17 Jan 2003 15:56:01 +0100
World Council of Churches
For Immediate Use
17 January 2002
WCC asks governments to exert influence with North Korea
Cf. WCC Press Release, PR-02-29, of 15 November 2002
When the People's Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK) announced (10 January)
its decision to reactivate its nuclear programme and expel UN inspectors
present in the country, the World Council of Churches (WCC) was swift to
react. On 15 January, the WCC's Commission of Churches on International
Affairs (CCIA) asked the governments of Russia, China, Japan and South Korea
to urge the DPRK to reverse its decision.
In a letter addressed to all four governments, the WCC/CCIA noted that North
Korea's decision jeopardizes a 1994 agreement by North Korea (with the US
government) to scrap its nuclear programme. By thus effectively withdrawing
from a 2000 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and a safeguards accord with
the International Atomic Energy Agency, the DPRK "poses a serious threat to
peace and stability in the region", CCIA director Peter Wiederud warned.
The letter invokes both the Council's general position on nuclear weapons,
and its long-term active engagement in the cause of peaceful reunification of
South and North Korea. The WCC holds that "nuclear weapons, regardless of
where they are and who controls them, represent an unacceptable threat to all
of humanity". As such, they "promise insecurity rather than security" and
"must be condemned on ethical and theological grounds".
Copies of the letter were also sent to the DPRK ambassador in Switzerland and
to the US permanent representative to the UN in Switzerland. An accompanying
note suggested to both governments that they would do well to "take immediate
steps to engage in dialogue to resolve their differences and adhere to terms
of non-aggression agreed in 1994 and 2000".
For further information, please contact the Media Relations Office, tel: +41
(0)22 791 64 21 / (41 22) 791 61 53
The World Council of Churches (WCC) is a fellowship of churches, now 342, in
more than 100 countries in all continents from virtually all Christian
traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member church but works
cooperatively with the WCC. The highest governing body is the assembly, which
meets approximately every seven years. The WCC was formally inaugurated in
1948 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Its staff is headed by general secretary
Konrad Raiser from the Evangelical Church in Germany.
World Council of Churches
Media Relations Office
Tel: (41 22) 791 6153 / 791 6421
Fax: (41 22) 798 1346
PO Box 2100
1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland
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