Christian groups react to Kim-Trump summit, WCC calls for long-term commitment to peace

(Photo: DPRK government twitter feed)Kim Jong Un

After the Trump-Kim summit concluded, World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit gave thanks to God for what he called "an important first step on the path to a more peaceful and secure future in the region."


Robin Wright wrote in The New Yorker, "Three days after angering his six closest Western allies, President Trump embraced Asia's most notorious dictator at a steamy resort in Singapore and heralded a 'very special bond' in new relations between the United States and North Korea. Trump and Kim signed a two-page statement - big on ideas but slim on specifics - that committed North Korea to 'complete denuclearization' and said that the United States would 'provide security guarantees' for a country with which it is still technically at war."

The Singapore Summit on June 12 between the United States and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea occurred after a period of unprecedentedly dangerous and escalating confrontation, said the WCC.

However, the leaders of the United States and the DPRK declared their commitment to establishing new relations in accordance with the desire of their peoples for peace and prosperity, and to joining their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Open Doors USA President David Curry, in Singapore to advocate for religious freedom in North Korea, reacted to President Donald Trump discussing the topic of human rights and the plight of Christians in his summit with Kim Jong Un.

Open Doors is a group the monitors Christian persecution throughout the world and often rates North Korea as the worst offending country.

"Though we have few details of what was said, President Donald Trump's decision to address North Korea's human rights atrocities was diplomatically bold, and we are particularly glad to hear the president say he brought up the plight of the more than 300,000 Christians who face persecution and even death under the regime of Kim Jong Un," said Curry.


The WCC said that North Korea also reaffirmed its commitment made in the Panmunjom Declaration of April 27, to work towards complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

The WCC noted that it has worked for more than 30 years for dialogue, engagement and people-to-people encounter as the means for resolving confrontation and division on the Korean Peninsula.

"As the joint statement signed by both leaders acknowledges, the detailed and difficult work of translating these mutual affirmations into action is now just beginning," said Tveit.

"We call upon the leaders of both nations to remain committed to the path of dialogue for peace, and to resist impulses to revert to the confrontational rhetoric of the past."

Tveit said that that the WCC will continue and expand its efforts with and through the churches of the USA, North and South Korea to build bridges of trust and mutual understanding between the peoples of all three countries, and to assist in overcoming the patterns established by decades of tension, hostility and isolation.

"Among other important confidence building measures, we call for suspension of future U.S.-South Korean joint military exercises, and for the sanctions regime against the DPRK to be eased," Tveit said.

"We especially call for the Singapore Summit to be swiftly followed by a formal declaration of the end of the Korean War, and for work to begin on a peace treaty to replace the 1953 Armistice Agreement so as to bring the suspended state of war to an end and to create more conducive conditions for resolution of the current challenges in the region."

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