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N. Korea Nuclear Test Draws Fire from Church Bodies

Church bodies have joined with the international community in the condemnation of North Korea's nuclear weapon test.
( [email protected] ) Oct 10, 2006 03:26 PM EDT

WASHINGTON – Church bodies have joined with the international community in the condemnation of North Korea’s nuclear weapon test.

"Tt is a deplorable act of aggression against the prospects of a more peaceful world," said the Rev. R. Randy Day, chief executive of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, in a statement released yesterday.

North Korea announced on Monday that it had successfully tested its first-ever nuclear test – an underground explosive. The announcement was quickly followed by worldwide condemnation and anger against the reclusive communist state including opposition from its long-time ally China, which said, "The nuclear test will undoubtedly exert a negative impact on our relations."

The National Council of Churches USA general secretary, the Rev. Bob Edgar, denounced the nuclear testing and urged an immediate return to the negotiation table or the "Six-Party Talks" with China, South Korea, North Korea, the United States of America, Russia, and Japan.

"Nuclear weapons are the ultimate weapons of mass destruction. No good can come from their use," said Edgar in a statement. "No good can come from their testing. Nuclear proliferation can not be good news for the planet."

Other church bodies have responded to North Korea’s announcement with calls for a peaceful response.

"We pray that God will help you to respond wisely, peacefully, lawfully and collectively," wrote the World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia in a letter to the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and the U.N. ambassadors of North Korea and its neighbors on Monday.

Kobia like NCC’s Edgar highlighted the urgent need for successful "Six-Party Talks" and for the nuclear weapons crisis to be "resolved politically through the negotiated settlement of grievances among the parties concerned" as well as legally according to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and other U.N. treaties.

"We can't build a peaceful relationship when we label the other as evil," said Bishop Hee-soo Jung of a United Methodist Church in the Chicago areas, according to the United Methodist News Service. "I ask United Methodists and other Christians to pray for peaceful resolutions and advances in the Korean Peninsula through... dialogue and diplomatic channels. Let us pray for peace in Korea and [for] her people as well as leaders in related countries in this difficult situation."