Prayer for the Korean peninsula

God who knows all history,
hear our prayer;
For an identity shaped by the shame of occupation,
hear our prayer;
For a land still cringing from the rape of a war waged more than six decades ago,
hear our prayer;
For bodies that toiled to rebuild and recover,
hear our prayer;
For the painful separation of sisters and brothers,
hear our prayer;
For stubborn governments unable to hear one another and negotiate,
hear our prayer;
For those that deny responsibility,
hear our prayer;
For an entire world that continues to provoke and live with hate,
hear our prayer;
For the voices that call for and take steps towards peace and reconciliation;
hear our prayer.
Grant us your church a renewed vision;
hear our prayer.

by Kathi Suderman, MCC Representative for North East Asia

Continue reading context for prayer:

The Korean Peninsula has at times in history been ruled by Korean dynasties and at other times by the Japanese as well as the Chinese. In more recent history, it’s existed as a divided country.

At the end of World War II, the Allies divided Korea into two countries separated at the 38th parallel. Analysts refer to this point as the start of tensions that continue to this day, with the former USSR lending support to the northern part of the country to become a communist state and the U.S. supporting the southern part of the country in its anti-communist efforts. The Republic of Korea (South Korea) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) were formally established in 1948.  Both sides desired to reunify Korea but on their own terms, resulting in war on the peninsula from 1950-1953. The war is known as “The Forgotten War” by Americans, as the “6-2-5 Upheaval” by South Koreans (referring to the date the war began, June 25 in 1950), as the “Fatherland Liberation War” by North Koreans, and as the “War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea” by China, which stepped in to assist the North during the war.

In 1953 peace negotiations resulted in the formation of a Demilitarized Zone between the two countries as well as an armistice agreement made between the UN command (led by the U.S.) and North Korea and the People’s Republic of China. South Korea was not part of the agreement and to this day a peace treaty has not been signed. Agreements made in the armistice agreement, namely to keep the peninsula nuclear-free, to eliminate foreign troops from the peninsula, and to sign a peace treaty within three months of signing, have been violated by one or the other or in some cases both sides of the conflict, creating tensions that have ebbed and flowed time and time again. Though the Chinese did withdraw troops almost immediately, the U.S. to this day maintains a military presence in South Korea, with roughly 28,000 troops stationed. The U.S. introduced nuclear weapons to the south, but later removed them when a non-nuclear pact was signed by the two Koreas. In subsequent years the north has developed nuclear capabilities, contrary to the pact and subsequent agreements, as a response to the U.S.’s continued support of the south and in fear of perceived threat. Annual South Korea-U.S. joint military exercises conducted each year in the disputed waters off the coast of North Korea continue to incite responses from North Korea. This year, which marks the 60th anniversary of the signing of the armistice agreement, has been no exception.

MCC’s work in North Korea focuses on food security through sustainable agriculture projects and delivering food to tuberculosis hospitals and rest homes as well as orphanages.

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