“Seize the moment:” religious and world leaders unite on North Korea

Rights activists have joined Catholic bishops, Christian groups, diplomats and statesmen in urging the North Korean regime to use the death of Kim Jong-il as an opportunity to reverse decades of isolation and oppression.

Kim’s successor, Kim Jong-un, and his military backers have an “unprecedented opportunity” to “turn a new page on the human rights situation in the country,” the International Coalition to Stop Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea (ICNK) said in a statement released yesterday in London.

Echoing this call, the Catholic bishops’ in Korea labelled Kim’s death “a turning point” for the re-unification of the Koreas.

“We hope that the Lord gives light and strength to the North Korean brothers so that there is a return (to) a policy focused on dialogue, peace, reconciliation,” Bishop of Cheju Diocese and president of the South Korean bishops’ conference, Peter Kang, told Fides news agency.

The Christian Solidarity worldwide, too, is saying it is time to “seize the moment,” and  calling on the international community to press for change.

“There is now a real opportunity for North Korea to change direction, end its isolation, stop the brutal oppression of its own people and open up to the world,” said Mervyn King, chief executive of Christian Solidarity worldwide.

Bishop Kang said the bishops did not expect Kim’s death and the bishops do not know in detail the current political situation in North Korea.

He suggested that a “settling time” was possible.

Korea’s new leader, the 30-year-old Kim Jong Un, is young, with little political experience. Observers say he does not seem to have the confidence of the Korean people.

“Our hopes are always towards the beginning of a journey of peace and reconciliation”, the bishop said.


Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: ,