Korea: Prayers are 'Needed Earnestly,' say Church Leaders

Catholic Church leaders in South Korea are praying for peace as tensions between North and South Korea continue to escalate.

"With Christian faith, we view this as another ordeal on the way toward national reconciliation and we must keep hope," Fabiano Choi Hong-jun, chairperson of the Catholic Lay Apostolate Council of Korea, told ucanews.com. "We need to pray for peace and reconciliation"

North and South Korea have been at odds since March, when the Cheonan, a South Korean warship, sunk on March 26, leaving 46 sailors dead. An investigation into the incident concluded last week revealing that the ship had been torpedoed by North Korean forces.

On Tuesday, North Korea cut all ties with its southern counterpart, who earlier in the day relisted North Korea as its "principle enemy" for the first time since 2004. North Korea also banned South Korean ships and airplanes from moving through its territories.

South Korea took similar measures yesterday, cutting off trade with the North and barring them from using its air and water spaces. South Korea also called on the United Nations to censure the North for the Cheonan incident.

North Korean leader Kim Jon-il has reportedly told his forces to be ready for war.

"We do not hope for war but if South Korea, with the U.S. and Japan on its back, tries to attack us, it's Chairman Kim Jong-il's order to finish the task of unifying the fatherland, which was left undone" during the Korean War, North Korean authorities have said, according to the New York Times.

Meanwhile, Father Raphael Seo John-yeob said that the North and South "must continue to talk about peace and reconciliation."

That is why "prayers are needed earnestly," he said.

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