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Two Koreas must pull together

PAJU (UCAN): Peace on the Korean Peninsula calls for repentance and atonement between Pyongyang and Seoul a three-day symposium ending on December 3 in Paju City in South Korea on the role of Catholic people in fostering peace in the region has concluded.
 
But the symposium was closing just as the United States of America (US) and South Korea were launching military air exercises, heightening tensions between the two Koreas, as well as South Korea and China.
 
As the first international symposium organised by the Catholic Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation Institute, it was attended by more than 320 people, including delegates from the US and Japan.
 
Bishop Lee Ki-heon, from Uijeongbu in South Korea, told the delegates that repentance and atonement are needed if peace is ever to be achieved in the region.
 
“I desperately realise it is repentance and atonement that is needed for the reconciliation of the two Koreas, genuine forgiveness and peace,” Bishop Lee said.
 
“We are the proud descendants of martyrs, who sacrificed themselves for justice and truth, while we haven’t been strong enough to arbitrate between the two Koreas in the context of peace within the tragic history of the nation.”
 
The symposium agreed that tensions could be addressed peacefully and that South Korea and the US needed to step back from both talking about and taking military action against North Korea.
 
Bishop Robert McElroy, from San Diego, stressed that all parties must work to lessen nuclear proliferation and that peace efforts should focus on the welfare of the Korean people, not the nations on the peripheries of the division.
 
The American bishop said that there is a great desire to begin new initiatives to foster unification that include formulating a comprehensive strategy to build bridges between societies in the two countries, not dig deeper chasms.

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