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+++ North Korea: Mgr. Lazzaro You Heung-sik (Justice and Peace), “We must stop! A nuclear war leaves no winners” +++

“We all have to stop. Because if a nuclear war breaks out, there will be no winners. We will all be losers. Such sophisticated weapons will cause total destruction”. Mgr. Lazzaro You Heung-sik, Bishop of Daejeon and President of the “Justice and Peace” Commission of the Korean Bishops’ Conference, made this appeal in an interview with SIR news agency at a time of huge tensions in the Korean Peninsula. “The Korean people – said the Bishop who is currently in Rome – are used to this threat, it has been on for 70 years, since the time Korea was divided into two. Unfortunately, the previous governments and the political world in general have exploited this situation for their personal gain. But this time it is different. What is of great concern is the use by state leaders of strong language, imbued with hatred, so no one knows what might happen next, we live in limbo. We are concerned, but I trust that the Lord will give us the strength and show us the way, and that we will all find the right ways to initiate new talks and move forward. The Bishop, who has managed to cross the border and reach Pyongyang for four times, explains that “North Korea feels on the margins and cut off from international politics and it responds to this isolation with the atomic bomb which is some sort of protection, a way of feeling safe”. He goes on to ask: “What does it profit Korea to launch a missile? Nothing. If they launch a missile, the US will not sit idly, it will respond”. Tension is still high in the region, but Bishop Daejeon says this about the sanctions: “I respect the UN decisions. But room should always be left for dialogue. Never should the path of negotiations be closed. A door should always be kept open. If China, for instance, were to stop supplying fuel to North Korea because of the sanctions, this action might cause people to die from hunger in the country”. On 6 and 7 September, President Moon Jae-in will attend the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok where he will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “I hope – Mgr. Lazzaro told SIR – that Russia and Mr Putin will be able to put pressure on North Korea, persuading it to stop and that it cannot continue along this line, and asking the Pyongyang regime to resume dialogue”. “Pope Francis is very concerned and prays a lot. The Rosary is our strength”, the Bishop said. The line of the Holy See is that outlined by the Pontiff on his return flight from Cairo. “The Pope – Mgr. Lazzaro You pointed out – always proposes dialogue as a way to build peace. This is his line for all the situations in the world and also in Korea: saving dialogue at all costs and seeking diplomatic solutions even to the most difficult crises”.

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