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Korean Peace-Sharing Forum calls for practical solutions

Korean Peninsula Peace-Sharing Forum

Archdiocese of Seoul | Provided

Archbishop Peter Soon-taick Chung

J-P Mauro - published on 11/27/23

The meeting was held with the slogan: “As long as we remember them, they are alive. As long as we pray for them, our prayer will be heard.”

The Korean Peninsula Peace-Sharing Forum, an annual gathering of leading academics and practitioners to discuss tensions between North and South Korea, met in November. This 8th annual meeting drew more than 100 religious leaders, diplomats, clergy, activists, and laypeople for conversations on the topic of “Ways Leading to Reconciliation and Peace on the Korean Peninsula.”

The forum took place at Songsin Theological Campus of the Catholic University of Korea, hosted by the Korea Reconciliation Committee of the Archdiocese of Seoul. This year’s meeting, which coincided with the 70th anniversary of the 1953 Korean Armistice Agreement, emphasized the need to move beyond conflicts of the past in order to seek a future of mutual prosperity. 

The 8th Korean Peninsula Peace-Sharing Forum was conducted under the slogan: “As long as we remember them, they are alive. As long as we pray for them, our prayer will be heard.” The sentiment comes with a prayer campaign for the faithful of North Korea, who live their lives of faith in secret and at great personal risk. 

In his opening remarks, Archbishop Peter Soon-taick Chung OCD of Seoul encouraged those present to reflect on the Catholic Church’s role and “duty” as mediator or reconciler on the Korean Peninsula. The archbishop stated: 

“Culture of division under which mistrust and doubts are rampant dominates the atmosphere. Inter-Korean relations now must seek living and prospering together, marching beyond the 70 years of conflicts in the past.”

Monsignor Fernando Duarte Barros Reis, Chargé d’Affaires of Apostolic Nunciature in Korea, expressed his hope that the forum would provide a much needed platform to explore new and creative ways to bridge the gap between North and South Korea. He went on to share Pope Francis’ sentiments on the subject: 

“On last September 16, Pope Francis received in Rome a group of pilgrims from the Catholic Church in Korea, inviting them to ‘entrust to St. Andrew Kim Taegon the dream of peace of the Korean Peninsula,’ which is always in His ‘thoughts and prayers.’”

In-chon Yu, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, noted that the many conflicts that have arisen around the world in recent years has made the forum’s search for peaceful solutions especially relevant. He said: 

“Conflicts are erupting all over the world. I believe that today’s discussions taking place in such international situations would be more important than ever.”

At the forum’s conclusion, participants renewed commitment to fostering understanding, reconciliation, and peace on the Korean Peninsula. They were said to have left with a renewed sense of purpose and determination to address the challenges ahead.

Korean Peninsula Peace-Sharing Forum

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