It was a great honour for me to visit Korea a few times, in various capacities. The last time was the summit of 2020 in Seoul. As an Arab Palestinian Christian visiting that beautiful country of Korea, I found myself asking once again why do world leaders offer lip service to peace and justice, but never rise up to the challenge of implementing peace, justice, and unity? I thank Dr Hak Ja Han Moon, the Universal Peace Federation and the Christian Leadership Conference for sponsoring such an important prayer rally for the unity of Korea.
Korea has a long and rich history; it has been called the hermit kingdom and the land of the morning calm. Although they share one language, one country and one history today the Korean people are still divided without any kind of peace treaty.
Many families have not seen one another since the Korean war. Tensions have remained on high alert.
In recent weeks, we have seen a rise in cross border hostility. The land of the morning calm has become a political flashpoint.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has developed nuclear capabilities and shows no sign of denuclearization, even as its people suffer serious economic hardship and human rights abuses. Efforts by the US, China, Japan, and other nations, to reduce tension, foster dialogue and forge a path to unity have all been ineffective.
Korea is unique in being a majority Christian nation within Asia. This is the result of the influence of Protestant and Catholic missionaries, but also of the fervour with which the Korean people embrace the Gospel. This has been very seldom in other parts of the world. The two Koreas are a legacy of the cold war and the brutal struggle between democracy and communism which affected many nations.
The south Korean leadership has made many gestures toward unity, but the aggressive rhetoric of north Korea has not abated, just as in Israel and Palestine. If we want to do more than give lip service to justice and unity, there will need to be coordinated efforts from the major superpowers and other world leaders, civil society and faith-based organisations to take action. It seems a huge task, but there is no other way forward for the people of Korea and the Korean peninsula than unity and justice. Koreans deserve to be liberated from their long struggle. They, along with every people of every nation, deserve a future of unity, peace and justice. If there is a will, there is a way.
One of the Koreans challenged me in a press conference, saying, bishop, if Koreans unite, then South Korea will lose the economic growth they have just achieved. My answer was simple; let us learn from the example of Germany. Once the Berlin wall fell apart, the same question was raised; however, the German leaders were very wise and united Germany under one Federal German Republic. And we can see today that, because of this unity, Germany has become one of the major world economic powers.
The same thing will happen with the Korean peninsula. Once they decide to unite, then neither Korea will need any kind of weapons, neither nuclear weapons, nor any newly developed ones. Weapons only create fear, destroy life, and create disunity. Only peace, unity and understanding will always build life, security and common wellbeing. I dream of the one united Korea that will be much stronger politically, economically and socially worldwide.
Let us pray that our Triune God may hear the cries of the divided Korea and that Christ, who is the light of the world, may shine his light on the Korean leaders, so that they will unite the Koreans in one nation, and they will be reminded that unity is always God's will. May Christ also touch the broken hearts of the divided families and give them comfort and, for those who are oppressed, may the Holy Spirit lead the local and world leaders to peace based on justice and reconciliation based on forgiveness.
We pray this in the name of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.
Pray for the unity of Korea and may God bless all of you.