Mission life: THE KUKMIN DAILY

Reunification Mission Organizations Welcome Restoration of North-South Hotline

2018-01-08 15:03
Restoration of the border hotline at Panmunjom after its 23-month-long cutoff, thereby reopening the communication channel between South and North Korea, was welcomed on the whole by the Korean church’s major reunification mission organizations. At the same time, they advised the Korean government to expedite efforts to persuade some Korean conservatives, the United States and other global powers still doubtful of North Korea’s sincerity, that North-South dialogue is the right way to go.

PeaceCorea Representative Heo Mun-yeong said on January 4 in a phone interview with Kukmin Daily, “We welcome the restoration of the Panmunjom channel; now South and North must work to nourish the revived spark of dialogue into the flame of peace…But we must not exclude the concerns of the Korean public and U.S. opinion related to the North’s nuclear weapons, and the government should adjust its speed to achieve their understanding.”

There was also an outpouring of expectations for resumption of the long-suspended civilian exchanges. Oh Seong-hun, secretary general of the Jubilee Prayer Association for Unification and National Salvation, said, “We hope this event will lead to the reactivation of North-South civilian exchanges, including reunions of divided family members…Rather than worrying about North Korea’s maneuvering, let us look forward to our Korean peninsula’s becoming one country, and through our prayers encourage the government to do well.”

Meanwhile, some voices called for close attention to North Korea’s intentions. Jo Yoseb, director of the North Korea Mission Institute of Youth With a Mission, said, “It is important to have this opportunity for dialogue, but we must recognize that North Korea has been seeking a way to break out of its isolation…Considering the likelihood of positive change in the situation, let us pray for the government to cope wisely with the responses of North Korea and the surrounding nations.”

Reporter Yang Minkyeong (grieg@kmib.co.kr), with Marion Kim (marionkkim@icloud.com)

Original Article in Korean:
통일선교단체 “남북 채널 복원 환영”

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