24 September 2011
The delegation consists of 24 people who reached North Korea via China, since there are no direct links between the two parts of the peninsula. The trip was organized at the invitation of North Korean Council of Religions, a puppet in the hands of Pyongyang that provides "sham" functions for the few Western and Chinese tourists who arrive in the country. In any case, this is a unique opportunity: the delegation will remain in the country until Saturday, September 24.
Leaving the international airport of Incheon, Gwangju Archbishop Mgr. Hyginus Kim Hee-jong read a joint statement given by all religions: "We will deliver South Korean religious groups’ aspirations for peace to the North. As the religious people from the two Koreas gather to reaffirm our resolve to achieve peace, we hope that the minds of the two Koreas will become united in our pursuit of reunification, and that this will contribute to opening a new history of reconciliation, cooperation and exchange". The group also thanked the Seoul government for having granted permission to leave. After the military provocations of Pyongyang, in fact, the government has prevented almost any relationship between the two countries.
Along with Mgr. Kim are the Rev. Kim Yeong-joo, Secretary of the Korean National Council of Churches, the Venerable Jaseung, president of the Korean Jogye Order of Buddhism, Ven. Kim Ju-won, who leads Won Buddhism; Dr. Choi Geun-dok, president of the Confucian Sung Kyun Kwan Association, Woon Yim-kil, head of the Chondogyo and Han Yang-won, who heads the Korean traditional religions.
Although born of good intentions, a Catholic source tells AsiaNews: "Pyongyang has no desire to be open to the idea of religion in a straightforward manner, because the regime would fall after a few months if it did. Religion, first of all, teaches freedom and does not fit well with the dictatorships. For this reason, even if it is right to see and experience the situations as much as possible, I think it is a lure to get as much humanitarian aid as possible from the religious people of the South ".