The quest for truth and justice in the Korean Peninsula

DGM at Korea conferenceThe Revd David Grosch-Miller, former Moderator of the United Reformed General Assembly, reflects on his participation at the Asia-Pacific Peace Zone Consultation, held on JeJu Island, South Korea, in September as a guest of the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK).

‘The consultation was the initiative of the PROK and intended to look beyond the immediate concern of bringing an end to the Korean War.

‘The armistice signed in 1953 between the US and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPROK) does little to heal the gaping wound of a divided country. The people of Korea look not only for an end to the hostilities between North and South but for a regional stability that will guarantee a future of justice and right relationships. While President Trump and Chairman Kim, of the DPROK, dominated headlines recently, the churches of North and South, with the help of the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Forum on Korea, patiently build bridges and pray for peace.

‘The consultation, held in September, also provided regional partners from Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines and Taiwan the opportunity to share with partners from Europe and north America the challenges caused by globalisation.

‘It is difficult, but necessary, for some of us to hear that our prosperity is built upon the exploitation of others. The conversation reflected a deep desire for the needs of local people to be heard. The challenge, of ending the dominant influence of powerful nations and corporations, is massive and needs the support from partners across the world.

‘A small step forward is for churches in Europe and north America to understand better the legacy of the Second World War which left Korea divided, injustices ignored and communities vulnerable to the whim of global powers such as the USA and China.

‘The churches of Korea support the initiative taken by President Moon of the Republic of Korea to normalise relationships between North and South, but many in Korea remain sceptical. Decades of negative propaganda have built distrust between the separated parts of Korea and it will take time and patience for normal relationships to emerge.

‘In the meantime, the URC continues to support our partners in their desire for a peace settlement that would turn the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) into an international peace park and create more opportunities for families to be reunited.’