Church concern over tensions on Korean peninsula

The World Council of Churches has called for urgent talks to restore stability to the Korean peninsula.

General secretary of the WCC, the Reverend Dr Olav Fykse Tveit expressed his "grave concern" over last week's nuclear test by North Korea.

He called for a diplomatic solution and inter-Korean cooperation, and an end to acts of hostility.

"The nuclear test in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is a destabilising action in a fragile region. So far, the main responses risk tipping the region into greater crisis," said Dr Tveit.

"The current situation demonstrates an urgent need for the members of the Six Party Talks, the six governments most responsible for peace and human security in Northeast Asia, to return to their own earlier path of negotiations and confidence-building."

He called upon both sides to recognise that nuclear weapons are a source of "insecurity" and a "catalyst for instability".

The WCC is preparing to hold its 10th Assembly in Busan, Republic of Korea, in October this year.

The gathering will be held under the theme of "God of life, lead us to justice and peace".

Dr Tveit said the theme was a "fervent prayer and a God-given hope for the people of the Korean peninsula as well as for their neighbours".

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