Korean and Japanese bishops have called for political and military leaders in the Northeast Asia to establish peace through dialogue as tensions rise in the region over Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions. In recent months, Beijing has had only limited high-level exchanges with North Korea but in the past, it has repeatedly pushed for a diplomatic solution to the crisis over Pyongyang’s development of nuclear weapons and missiles to carry them.

In a joint statement, “Hope for Peace in Northeast Asia”, signed by 21 Korean and 15 Japanese Bishops, was signed on the last day of their annual exchange meeting held November 14-16 in Kirishima city, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan. The bishops said in the statement that “Northeast Asian countries are seeking stability and prosperity built on their military power by cooperating with or forming alliances with other major powers of the same political system.” Further, they added, “This creates threats to the security of each nation and is causing tension today. All of us should realize that a true peace cannot be guaranteed by nuclear armaments or militarization.”

The bishops also stressed that people in both countries should remember the fact that the poor and the environment continue to suffer while astronomical sums of money are spent on armaments.