Korea Peace Appeal gathers 170,000 signatures to end the Korean War.
The Korea Peace Appeal campaign draws to a close with an urgent call from United Church partners for continued prayer and action for peace and reconciliation in Korea. Seventy years after Armistice, which brought a ceasefire but not an end to the Korean War, the Korean Peninsula is experiencing renewed escalation of tensions and confrontation.
The United Church of Canada joined the Korea Peace Appeal in 2022 at the invitation of Korean partners, and launched the Korea Peace Appeal Ten Thousand Signature Campaign, standing in solidarity with partners, declaring “70 years is enough. It’s time to end the Korean War.”
The global campaign brought together the peace-making efforts of 370 Korean civil society organizations and 74 international partner organizations to gather over 170,000 signatures on its online petition. The collected signatures will be delivered in October 2023 at the United Nations headquarters in New York to the governments of North and South Korea, the USA, China, and to United Nations leaders.
United Church partner the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK) marked the 70th anniversary on July 27, 2023, with a public Peace Convocation in the centre square of the South Korean capital city of Seoul, facing the US Embassy. Youth leaders read the PROK’s call for an end to war and a peace treaty, a PROK clergy choir sang out for peace and reconciliation, and communion was shared with all gathered. Together those assembled prayed for peace:
How long have been these 70 years in an armistice situation!
The Korean Peninsula desperately needs peace.
Reconciliation rather than tension, harmony rather than confrontation,
encounter rather than antagonism:
These are what we need.
This is the path to peace, the peace of God.
In the 70th year of the Armistice, the Korean Peninsula truly needs the peace of God.
God of peace and harmony, as you are with us on the Korean Peninsula,
May we achieve peace.
—National Council of Churches in Korea, 2023 Armistice Prayer
After 70 years of a “never-ending ceasefire,” Korean partners have not ceased to pray and act for reconciliation, peace, and justice on the Korean Peninsula. As the Korea Peace Appeal campaign draws to close, Korean partners urge the United Church to continued solidarity through prayer and action. “The world does not get better by itself. If we do not speak up, pray and act for peace, there will be no peace,” writes General Secretary KIM Changju of the PROK.
Join ecumenical partners around the globe on August 13, 2023, in the observance of the annual Sunday of Prayer for the Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula,* to stand in solidarity with Korean partners and accompany their efforts toward a permanent peace regime in the region and the world.
*The annual Sunday of Prayer for the Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula is observed on the Sunday before August 15 every year. August 15, celebrated as Liberation Day in both North and South Korea, marks the date in 1945 when Korea won independence from Japanese colonial oppression, but it was also the day when the peninsula was divided into two countries.