Moon asks Protestant churches to help promote Korea peace, national unity

SEOUL, President Moon Jaein asked South Korean Protestant churches Wednesday to play a bigger role in efforts to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula and resolve social rifts here.

Hosting a Cheong Wa Dae luncheon meeting with a dozen representatives from the country's major Protestant sects, Moon pointed out that Christians have played a big role in the development of the country's society.

The size and influence of Christianity in South Korean society are very great, Moon, a Roman Catholic, said.

An estimated 10 million South Koreans, about one fifth of the nation's population, are Protestants, with more than 83,000 churches in existence nationwide, according to various data.

Politics is thoroughly separate from religion in South Korea and religious unity is not a guide for the assessment of political decisionmaking.

But many religious figures, including Christians, contributed to the liberation of Korea from Japan's 191045 colonization, as well as its economic development, democratization, welfare and other issues.

I have some more things to desire from Christianity, Moon said. Adding to the roles (it) has played so far, first I hope it will play a further role for peace.

Some local Protestant groups have been already engaged in humanitarian aid for North Korea and religious exchanges with it, he noted.

How to deal with the communist neighbor is a longtime source of ideological disputes in South Korea.

The liberalminded president stressed that comparing the past one and a half years with the period when the North intensively conducted nuclear and midtolongrange missile tests clearly shows which path the South should take.

He asked the Protestant leaders to lead the process of making peace and recovering homogeneity between the two Koreas.

Another request for the Protestant community is to help foster social unity and a more mature democracy, he added.

It's a duty that politics should meet. But the politics of unity is not working on its own. So I would really appreciate it if our religious circles, especially Protestants, play an additional role for the politics of unity, Moon said.

Source: Yonhap news Agency

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