For Mgr You, the Inter-Korean summit provides an ‘historic' opportunity for peace

The South Korean Church is praying for the success of the event, looking forward to "concrete" solutions to the peninsula’s problems. Hope was reborn with the Olympics. People are waiting for a message from Pope Francis.

Daejon (AsiaNews) - "It is a very important, historical occasion. We, as the Catholic Church, are praying for peace in Korea, and we ask Our Lady to help us find the agreement, a path to peace," said Mgr Lazarus You Heung-sik, bishop of Daejeon, about the upcoming inter-Korean summit in Panmunjom, on 27 April.

"Until last year, the situation on the Korean peninsula was a major problem for humanity,” the prelate noted. “But, after the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, new hope for dialogue and reconciliation was born.

“From South Korea, our president Moon Jae-in has always sought the way of dialogue, to resolve peacefully the situation on the Korean peninsula.” However, the future of the two Koreas does not depend only on the two countries,” he explained. "There are also the Americans, the Chinese, the Japanese and the Russians.”

“In particular, the Chinese and the Americans are very important. During the preparation of this summit there was talk of abolishing nuclear weapons. At the same time, we need a sure peace. South Korea and the United States are asking the North to give up nuclear power.”

“North Korea has always maintained that weapons are necessary for its security. The summit will serve to find a way to solve these problems. This is very important, not just for the two Koreas.

“The United States and North Korea will also meet, something that never happened before. Talks will focus on concrete things and concrete solutions. For example, Pyongyang will essentially centre denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula on the normalisation of diplomatic relations with the United States and with the irrevocable guarantee of the security of its regime.

“We must end the current armistice situation with a final peace treaty, and the international community must be willing to help the economic and social development of North Korea instead of imposing more sanctions. All these changes seem difficult, but with the certain desire for peace, they are absolutely possible."

A little over a week before the meeting between the two leaders, the South Korean Catholic Church is thus praying for the success of the talks. In this regard, "the Commission for the Reconciliation of the Bishops’ Conference is encouraging everyone to pray, and recite an Our Father, a Hail Mary and a Gloria every evening."

"The Korean people rely heavily on the prayer of the Holy Father Francis, who is loved and respected even by Buddhists and atheists,” Mgr You noted.

"Perhaps if the Holy Father sent a special message for the summit, it will give us a lot of courage, since the Korean people are preparing to take a new historical step that has never taken place in the last 65 years. We are looking not only at the irenic status quo, but far beyond: the true reconciliation of the Korean people.”