By Hannah MacDonald, Global Issues Division Head. Image can be found here.
Background to the Conflict
North and South Korea have been quarreling for decades, leading to tensions within both Korea and the international community. Very recently, the decades-old enemies surprised everyone by coming together to discuss reconciliation and peace between their governments. North and South Korea went to war for three years during the 1950s, and prior to the war, in 1948, Korea was split in half at the 38th Parallel creating a Capitalist south and Communist North. However, North and South Korea did not want the border to be permanent, so the North Koreans advanced across the 38th Parallel on June 25th, 1950 attacking South Korea. The two fought for a total of three years, and during that time period, the United Nation entered to help the South Koreans fight and the Chinese entered to help the North Koreans fight. After three years of fighting, with the help of the UN, the North Koreans was pushed back across the 38th parallel and the front was finally stabilized. Furthermore, after a long stalemate, an armistice was signed on July 27th, 1953 at P’anmunjŏm by the 38th Parallel. A demilitarized zone was set up, and the declaration of that zone marked the landmark of tension and “bad blood” that was going to last 65 more years.
2018 Historic Korean Summit
After the ongoing tension between North and South Korea, the two leaders decided to meet for the first time in over a decade on April 27th, 2018 to discuss bringing a formal end to the decades-old Korean war. At the meeting, Kim Jong Un, president of North Korea, and Moon Jae-in, president of South Korea, “signed the Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity, and Unification on the Korean Peninsula.” The document commits the two countries to a nuclear-free peninsula and talks about bringing “a formal end to the Korean War.” In addition, the meeting was the first time a North Korean leader had ever set foot in the South. A statement signed by both Kim and Moon read, “South and North Korea confirmed the common goal of realizing, through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula,” and the peace treaty was made in hopes of replacing the 1953 armistice that kept both Koreas in great tension. The meeting marked a sign of unity and potential rest from 68 years of conflict, and the Korean people can now look forward to a peaceful relationship between the two Korean governments.
Furthermore, the United States has played a role in the movement towards peace between the Koreas. CNN states, “Any way you cut it, President Donald Trump is entitled to significant credit for the historic opening between the two Koreas,” and South Korea also credited President Trump for bringing the two leaders together. In the midst of the historic happenings, President Trump is also due to meet with North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un. No U.S. president has agreed to sit down with a North Korean leader for peace talks until now. The groundbreaking meeting will take place in Singapore on June 12th, and hopefully, the U.S. and North Korea can come to a peace agreement in the same momentous fashion that North and South Korea did. Moreover, the U.S. played a large role in the recent significant political happening, and America will continue to stay involved as it pushes to make steps towards peace with North Korea.
The significance of all this is that we have two nations who have been at odds for decades coming together peacefully to pursue community and nuclear disarmament, and the United States was able to play a major role in this accomplishment. This is an outstanding step towards international peace and safety, and it is important to stay engaged as we get the privilege to witness these notable events play out.
What About Us?
The treaty between North and South Korea should remind us to never stop pursuing peace, no matter how long it takes. Although this is only the beginning of a long sought-after journey, we should be thankful for the steps being taken to finally accumulate peace. On days like this, we should praise God that He lets everything happen in His perfect timing, and we should continue to pray for peace and God’s provision as the United States prepares to meet with North Korea. Below, you will find some small prayers that I encourage you to take to God, and feel free to use the prayers as prompts when you don’t know what to pray for.
• I pray in thanksgiving for the long-awaited acts of peace and reconciliation between Kim Jong-Un and Moon Jae-in. Lord; You are sovereign, and I ask that, in Your time, peace will continue to unfold as you comfort and grant hope in the lives of the Korean people.
• I pray for the upcoming meeting between President Trump and President Kim Jong-Un. In times of uncertainty and anticipation, I trust that You are in control and everything will happen according to Your will. Please place Your spirit of love and peace in Trump and Kim, and guide their words and actions to honor You and bring about peace.
• I pray for America, and I pray that, as a nation, we will repent and turn back to You. A nation succeeds when You are at the core of it, and I ask that you use our leaders to point everyone towards You through their actions and policies. Please make your presence known in our land, and I ask that you will continue to bring shalom.