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North Korean missiles: mgr. Lazzaro You (Daejeon), “may weapons be silenced, we are one people and one race”

The Korean bishops join the prayer launched by Pope Francis today for peace, so that even in the Korean peninsula “may weapons be silenced and may hatred be effaced from our hearts”. This is the answer of mgr. Lazzaro You Heung-sik, bishop of Daejeon and president of the Peace and Justice Commission of the Korean Bishops, to the appeal made by Francis yesterday, so that today at 1:00 pm many countries may renew the “One minute for peace” initiative, a moment of prayer on the anniversary of the meeting in Vatican City between the Pope, the deceased Israeli president, Peres, and the Palestinian president, Abbas. “In this time of ours – the Pope said yesterday – there’s a great need to pray – Christians, Jews and Muslims – for peace”. The minute’s prayer falls just on the day North Korea launched multiple missiles again. According to South Korean media, a volley of missiles left from Wonsan, on the east coast, and flew about 22 kilometres towards the Eastern Sea. This is the forth launch in just over one month and the ninth since the start of the year, since the last one, on May 29th.

According to the bishop of Daejeon, these repeated missile tests, which are being held more and more often now to perfect the country’s military capacities, are also a response to the new policy of international dialogue with the United States and China of the newly-elected South Korean president, Moon Jae-in. It is therefore “a display of strength – bishop Lazzaro You says – to gain more weight in the negotiations, as part of the new diplomatic game between the big powers”. As to the “minute’s prayer”, the Korean bishop adds: “Thanks to the Pope, we have joined him for peace. Let’s pray that weapons may be silenced and hatred may be effaced from our hearts. Peace also begins with us, with what we can do to create a new relationship with the people who live near us, to be wherever we build peace and fraternity. Let’s pray for the reconciliation of the two Koreas: we are one people, one race. We are brothers and we have many more things that join us than things that divide us. Fuelling hatred and upgrading weapons are gestures that will never bring peace. Actually, they bring more conflict, more division, more poverty. Let’s pray today for the political leaders to be able to change their hearts”.

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