To the members of the UN Security Council
and to the attention of
the UN Secretary General
760 United Nations Plaza
Manhattan, NY 10017
The World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) is the international organization representing 80 million Christians in Congregational, Presbyterian, Reformed, United, Uniting and Waldensian churches in 108 countries worldwide. Called to communion and committed to justice the WCRC fosters church unity and coordinates common initiatives for peace, theological reflection and formation.
In close cooperation with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and in accordance with ecumenical policy positions issued during the past three decades the WCRC has encouraged its member churches in Korea and in the world to engage in new areas of global cooperation for peace and reunification on the Korean peninsula. The WCRC has emphasized repeatedly that peace in Korea will eventually contribute to peace in the region and in the world.
Following a long history of ecumenical accompaniment of the churches in Korea a WCRC delegation led by WCRC President Rev. Dr Jerry Pillay and WCRC General Secretary Rev. Chris Ferguson undertook a visit to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea from 24 to 29 September 2016.
The WCRC delegation, which was hosted by the Korean Christian Federation, heard that last year’s particularly provocative US-South Korean military exercises south of the Demilitarized Zone raised grave concern among the leadership and population of North Korea, as they involved the largest number of troops since the Korean War. Intensified military drills and the deployment of additional and more threatening weapon systems by the US and South Korea were described as a clear indication of a hostile and aggressive attitude towards the DPRK.
During its visit the WCRC delegation heard the urgent wish for the de-escalation of provocation and tension, the need to reestablish dialogue and negotiations and the desire to change the Armistice into a Peace treaty.
The members of the delegation were impressed by the great resilience of the people of North Korea and the many technological, architectural and economic achievements, which they were able to witness in Pyongyang. Nevertheless it is obvious that the sanctions imposed by the international community make life more difficult for a large part of the population.
During its visit the WCRC delegation was also confronted with the tragedy that had occurred in the North Hamgyong Province, where floods caused the death of hundreds of people and left tens of thousands others homeless. Such natural disasters put a strain on the resources of the country and reveal the inhuman and cynical character of the sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council.
In the light of the most recent developments on the Korean Peninsula and of its visit to the DPRK in 2016 the World Communion of Reformed Churches urgently calls upon the United Nations Security Council
to lift all sanctions imposed on the DPRK first in 2006 (resolution 1718) and later intensified by the resolutions 1874, 2087, 2094 and 2270,
to call for an end of all provocative military exercises, which destabilize the situation on the Korean peninsula and to establish a platform of dialogue to achieve durable peace in Northeast Asia, where all countries will feel equally honored and respected,
to take decisive steps towards replacing the Armistice Agreement of 1953 by a Peace Treaty, so as to end foreign military presence on the Korean peninsula and to allow the Korean people to accomplish the peaceful reunification of the Korean nation on its own terms.
Rev. Chris Ferguson