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» 12/19/2011 16:34
KOREA
Korean bishop says Kim’s death opens a path to dialogue, carefully
by Joseph Yun Li-sun
Mgr Lazarus You Heung-sik, bishop of Daejeon and president of the Episcopal Commission for the care of migrants, tells AsiaNews, “a period of confusion begins in the peninsula. We must focus on dialogue for peace but remain alert. May Christmas push us to pray for an improvement in the situation.” South Korea’s Ambassador to the Holy See Thomas Han sees some hope.

Daejeon (AsiaNews) – The death of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il “opens the path to a period of great confusion. Inside the regime, there will a clash between the party and the army. The young age of the heir will not help a smooth transition. Now we must pray for peace in Korea and the world, and use the Christmas season to remain vigilant but with a hand extended to our brothers in the North,” said Lazarus You Heung-sik, bishop of Daejeon and president of the Episcopal Commission for the care of migrants.

“There will be a lot of confusion in the northern part of the peninsula,” said the prelate, who is responsible for programmes that help northern refugees integrate. “The dictator’s son and heir designate is only 28-year-old and lacks the experience to lead the country in its relations with China, the United States and South Korea. I hope and pray that no one involved acts hastily. We need to focus on dialogue now that a certain window of opportunity has opened up.”

On this issue, the bishop talked about a dispute that has broken out in South Korea. “We received the news only eight hour ago, but South Korea’s opposition has already urged the government to send an official delegation to Kim Jong-il’s funeral. The government has taken a wait-and-see attitude. I think it should be done so that they understand that we mean peace and dialogue. We can wait for their answer, because at least we tried. Of course, it should not be done in a sterile way. We have tried so many times before and were mocked.”

For Mgr You, the problem “is that a harsh conflict will break out now between the party, which is in the hands of the heir’s uncle, and the military that are answerable to Kim Jong-un. In such a situation, ordinary people will pay and many will continue to die of hunger. We must do our utmost to start sending humanitarian aid again and prevent more deaths from the situation. It is too soon to say what will happen on the Korean Peninsula, but we must pray and work so that peace wins.”

Meanwhile, in Rome South Korea’s ambassador to the Holy See, Thomas Hongsoon Han, has expressed his personal thoughts about Kim Jong-il’s death. “I hope,” he told AsiaNews, “that this death will give peace a chance. The South and the North are going through a critical moment from an economic point of view. We need a period of peace. I hope that this death will bring better possibilities than the past.”

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See also
06/12/2006 NORTH KOREA - SOUTH KOREA - JAPAN
Pyongyang using an old mother to duck abduction accusations
by Pino Cazzaniga
06/19/2006 SOUTH KOREA – NORTH KOREA
President Roh backs Kim Dae-jung's visit to Pyongyang
by Theresa Kim Hwa-young
11/09/2006 SOUTH KOREA – NORTH KOREA
Ex Pyongyang leader: Only Kim's downfall will stop nuclear crisis
11/02/2006 north korea – south korea
Pyongyang to resume talks but on its own terms
05/25/2006 SOUTH KOREA – NORTH KOREA
Pyongyang says no to train link with south, reasons unclear

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SYRIA
I will miss you Fr Frans, you inspired us all, says Syrian Jesuit
by Tony Homsy*A young priest from the Society of Jesus remembers the life and work of Fr Frans van der Lugt, who was killed in Homs after he refused to abandon residents beleaguered by hunger and war. "He gave and continues to give everything for the Church, Syria, and peace. His story and qualities made him an exceptional missionary and witness to the Gospel." Reprinted courtesy of 'The Jesuit Post'.
FRANCE - IRAQ
Chaldean Patriarch on the uncertain future of eastern Christians, a bridge between the West and Islam
by Mar Louis Raphael I SakoThe wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan have made things worse for their peoples, especially minorities. As Western policies have been a failure, fundamentalism has grown with the Arab Spring losing out to extremism. Muslim authorities have a role in protecting rights and religious freedom. The presence of Christians in the Middle East is crucial for Muslims.
CHINA - EUROPEAN UNION
Xi Jinping returns home full of deals and silence
by Bernardo CervelleraThe Chinese president signed agreements worth tens of billions of Euros in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium. He also stayed clear of any press conference. At the College of Europe in Bruges, he presented his dream of a new trillion-dollar Silk Road. Yet, he also made it clear that at home, the monopoly of power stays with the Party, squashing any dream for political reform in China. On the Internet, netizens disagree with him.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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