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Joint first for North, South Protestants

All churches to mark March 1 Independence Movement with services at same time

Joint first for North, South Protestants
NCCK officials announce joint worship commemorating the March 1 Independence Movement (photo courtesy of NCCK)

Protestants in North and South Korea are to jointly commemorate Independence Movement Day on March 1 for the first time with simultaneous services in Pyongyang and Seoul. The National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) announced the move to remember the independence movement spirit in a statement yesterday. Independence Movement Day marks the day in 1919 when Korea declared its independence from Japanese rule. Reverend Kim Young-joo, NCCK executive secretary, said the council had agreed with the [North’s] Korean Christian Federation that all churches in the North and South will hold services on February 27. During the services, Protestants from both sides of the border will issue a joint statement condemning what they allege is the revival of militarism in Japan. “Renewed militarism in Japan can be seen by calls for amending Article 9 in its constitution that prohibits acts of war by the state, the bolstering of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces, paying respects to dead war heroes at the Yasukuni Shrine, and distorting history in text books,” the NCCK statement said. “This is causing worry and anger in other Asian countries,” it said. The NCCK urged the Japanese government to repent past crimes, to protect its existing constitution, to stop paying respects at the shrine and amend history books. The council also demanded Japan compensate Korean workers forced to work for Japan during wartime and not to discriminate against Koreans in Japan. KO13381.1642

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