South Korea: walls between people counter peace efforts
LWF President Younan visits border village of Korean Peninsula
(LWI) – At the border village of Panmunjom that divides the Korean people, Bishop Dr Munib A. Younan, President of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF), said peace between people cannot be realized by erecting physical walls.
“When there is a wall that is separating people, it is a wall of hatred, not security. Such borders are borders of hatred, division and scepticism. It is not a wall that will bring peace and justice. The peace of the Korean people lies with their co-patriots,” he stressed.
The LWF president was in South Korea from 1-6 October visiting the Lutheran Church in Korea, attending its General Assembly, preaching to a local congregation and meeting ecumenical leaders and civic dignitaries.
The border area they visited is where the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed on 27 July 1953, and is used by the two Koreas for diplomatic engagements. It is the only portion of the Korean Demilitarized Zone where North and South Korea forces stand face-to-face.
“This is not how God created us,” commented Younan. “Let us call on the leaders of the world to allow the unity of the Korean people to become a reality. If it happens here, it will also succeed in Palestine and other parts of the world,” he added.
Earlier in his meetings with Lutheran and other church leaders, Younan, who is also the bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, urged the churches of Korea to unite and embrace the idea of one nation. He urged Christians to intensify their prayers so that the political struggles and the “vicious circle of hatred” might end. For its part, the LWF will work with its member church and pray for it so that it might be the “instrument of peace” that helps broker unity on the Korean Peninsula, he said.
At the conclusion of the visit the delegation offered a prayer for peace: “May the wounds of separation and division be healed and may this nation be united as one nation of liberty, peace and justice, building a better future for all human beings. May God’s will be done for our nation,” they prayed.
“It’s not in a wall, the army, protecting the border. Peace is when there are human rights, freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, freedom for every being, and gender justice,” Younan added.
He was joined at the border by Lutheran Church in Korea President Rev. Dr Chul-Hwan Kim and LWF Vice-President for Asia, Ms Eun-Hae Kwon.