CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 8 December 2018

Print Version    Email to Friend
Seoul says no to missile system

SEOUL (AsiaNews): The Commission for Reconciliation between the Koreas to the north and south of the Demilitarised Zone has expressed its opposition to a proposed Terminal High Altitude Area Defence system being proposed as a joint project between the governments in Seoul and the United States of America.

A statement released on July 15, signed by the president of the commission, Archbishop Peter Lee Ki-heon, and the president of the Commission for Justice and Peace, Bishop Lazzaro You Heung-sik, expresses concern that the peninsula could become the centre of a new cold war if the initiative goes ahead.

The statement says, “Peace is never achieved with weapons, but only through faith.”

The statement quotes extensively from the watershed encyclical of Pope John XXIII, Peace on Earth (Pacem in Terris), saying, “True and lasting peace among nations cannot consist in the possession of an equal supply of armaments, but only in mutual trust” (110, 113).

It also cites the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes), which says, “Peace is not merely the absence of war; nor can it be reduced solely to the maintenance of a balance of power between enemies” (78).

They say that they fear it could add further sparks to the piecemeal third world war that Pope Francis has spoken about.

The bishops also cite Pope Francis’ speech at the Blue House (presidential palace) in Seoul during his visit to South Korea in 2014.

On that occasion, the pope said, “Diplomacy, as the art of the possible, is based on the firm and persevering conviction that peace can only be won through quiet listening and dialogue, rather than by mutual recrimination, fruitless criticism and displays of force.”

The two bishops want South Korea to find a way to make Korea a nation of “reconciliation and life in cooperation, rather than a dangerous place of clashing states.” They say that dialogue, reconciliation and cooperation are the way, not military pressure.

However, they admit, “Achieving peace will be very difficult if the economic and political situation worsens, because of international tensions.”

More from this section