On Wednesday, the North Korean government threatened to launch a missile strike on the US Pacific territory of Guam. Donald Trump promised to retaliate “with fire and fury like the world has never seen”.
More than 70 years after the end of World War II, the Korean peninsula remains divided without a formal peace agreement.
Christians throughout the world will come together to pray for peace in Korea on Sunday, 13 August.
The day of prayer is traditionally held on the Sunday before 15 August. This was the date Korea divided into two countries in 1945, backed by the two Cold War adversaries – the US and allies in the South and China and the Soviet Union in the North.
The National Council of Churches in Korea in South Korea and the Korean Christian Federation based in North Korea have prepared joint prayers for congregational use this year.
Uniting Church in Australia President Stuart McMillan called on church members to remember all Koreans in their prayers as they strive for a peaceful resolution to the decades-long conflict.
“Our thoughts and prayers are particularly with Korean members of the Uniting Church at this time of deep reflection and prayer for them,” Mr McMillan said.
More than 70 Korean ministers serve throughout the Uniting Church nationally.
Rev Dr Jong Soo Park, minister at Ocean Grove-Barwon Heads Uniting Church, lived most of his life in South Korea before migrating to Australia in 2003.
“Korea is the only country still divided into two nations due to the difference of ideology in the world since 1945,” Dr Park said.
“The danger of war in the Korean peninsula has rapidly increased because of North Korean’s development of ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles).
“The outbreak of war in Korea means an unimaginable disaster not only to Koreans but also to the world because it could be a nuclear war.”
According to The Washington Post, the North Korean government has successfully miniaturised a nuclear warhead, bringing it one step closer towards launching a nuclear ICBM.
North and South Korea have maintained an uneasy truce since the end of the Korean War and Dr Park warned of the human cost if current tensions escalate into war.
“Above all, there would be enormous casualties in the peninsula. Currently about 77 million people are living in the peninsula,” he said.
“It would be a great threat to world peace as some countries are closely intertwined with the Korean situations.
“Once a war breaks out, the US forces in South Korea will engage in the war, and then China will most likely to enter it too.
“The world economy would also be influenced slightly or seriously because of the considerable ratio of South Korea in the global market.”
In October this year, the synod’s Next Gen youth will travel to South Korea for a contextual learning trip.
Christianity is the largest religion in South Korea and churches are at the forefront of many social, educational and welfare services in the country.
On their return to Australia, the youth will share their experiences and observations with the rest of the synod.