Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Seoul welcomes US-North agreement
Washington to reward Pyongyang with food aid
- Stephen Hong, Seoul
- March 1, 2012
North Korea announced yesterday that it would temporarily halt its nuclear program.
Its official news agency, the Korean Central News Agency, said yesterday: "North Korea agreed to a moratorium on nuclear tests and uranium enrichment activity, and to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to monitor the moratorium on uranium enrichment."
Simultaneously, US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland announced the results of the third round of talks between the US and North Korea on February 23-24 in Beijing.
She said the US will provide North Korea with 240,000 tons of nutritional assistance.
The talks in Beijing were the first since the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il last December.
Welcoming the agreement, Cho Byung-jae, South Korean foreign ministry spokesman, said in a press release: "The US-North Korea announcement reflects the close cooperation South Korea and the US have [had]" to resolve the nuclear issue in North Korea.
Cho hoped this would provide a foundation to move forward with the resumption of the six-party talks [between Japan, China, North and South Korea, Russia and the US] to solve the fundamental nuclear issue.
The six-party talks have been stalled since 2008.
Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary-general, also issued a statement, welcoming "the positive and substantive progress achieved at their recent talks in Beijing."
Hoping several initial steps will be implemented towards a verifiable de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula, Ban stressed "the urgency of meeting the humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable people in North Korea."
Experts on North Korea noted that simultaneous announcement by the US and North Korea is "very rare," adding it is meaningful that "the two countries move together for a dialogue."
But they doubted if North Korea would implement its agreement, saying in many cases it has not fulfilled it.
US, North Korea meet â€˜will yield littleâ€™