SEOUL, South Korea — Bishop Peter Lee Ki-heon of Uijeongbu has been
waiting years for this moment, with the leaders of the two divided
Koreas poised to meet for a historic summit just inside South Korean
territory April 27.
Ucanews.com reported Bishop Lee, president of
the Korean bishops’ Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean
People, released a statement April 13 expressing his belief that the
summit would end decades of struggle and open a new era of peace on the
“Now the Korean Peninsula is entering an important time
of turbulence,” Bishop Lee wrote in the statement titled, “Your will be
done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
“With the inter-Korean
summit, as well as the ensuing summit between North Korea and the U.S.,
expectations are growing that the 65-year-long confrontation and
struggle will end and a new era of peace will come,” the statement read.
This will be the third major inter-Korean summit, decades after the Korean War ended in a cease-fire.
comes in the wake of former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung meeting
former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang in 2000, and former
South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun following in his predecessor’s
footsteps by venturing to the North Korean capital in 2007.
both of those meetings ultimately went nowhere, with the signs of
rapprochement crumbling only to be replaced by threats of war amid
occasional volleys of gunfire across the Demilitarized Zone that
separates the two countries.
Bishop Lee stated he expects the upcoming summit will bear more fruit, aided by the prayers of parishioners.
“Our prayers are making an incredible miracle through God, who makes the impossible possible,” he stated.
Korean Catholic Church declared its “first of year of peace” in 2015
while commemorating the 70th year since Korea split. That campaign saw
Catholics come together to pray for peace every day at 9 p.m.
Bishop Lee asked parishioners to keep faith.
still have many obstacles to overcome during the upcoming dialogue.
Please keep praying for everlasting peace on the Korean Peninsula. Our
solidarity in prayer will be a solid cornerstone for peace,” he wrote.
He also asked Catholics to check the “hostile” attitude that has crept into Korean society since the end of the Korean War.
to the long ‘Cold War’ era in Korea, the hostile attitude against
others has become deeply rooted in our society, and the church is not
free from this scourge,” he stated. “The sense of struggle and
divisiveness inside South Korean society is a huge obstacle to the
future (success) of the Korean people.”
The upcoming summit will
mark the first time a North Korean leader has set foot inside South
Korean territory in decades. Kim Jong Un, North Korean supreme leader,
is due to meet incumbent South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the South
Korean side of the Joint Security Area, just south of the DMZ.
much of the recent thaw in diplomatic relations has been cloaked in
secrecy, it indicates a strong de-escalation following months of
rhetoric between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump, as both threatened
each another with missile strikes.
Kim made a secret visit to
meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing in the first week of April,
his first trip outside North Korea since taking over the leadership.
it recently came to light that Trump sent the head of the CIA on an
equally secret meeting with Kim a few days later to pave the way for a
summit between Trump and Kim, which is expected to take place sometime