North East Asia Peace Consultation [NEAPC], 23rd to 29th November, Seoul, South Korea

Posted on 4 February 2004

For promoting peace, the NEAPC gathered under the theme To be a PeaceMaker: Overcoming Violence at the Ill-Young Methodist Research and Training Center, Seoul, South Korea from 23rd-29th November 2003. The Consultation was organized by Christian Conference of Asia and hosted by the Ecumenical Youth Council in Korea, in partnership with the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan, the National Christian Council in Japan and the Hong Kong Christian Council. The aim of the Consultation was to facilitate sharing and exploration on issues of conflict transformation and peace initiatives in the context of North East Asia helping to build a network of peace activists among the youth in North East Asia. Its objectives were:

1. To bring together youth from the NEA countries together for deliberation and exploration of peace and conflict issues, and issues of globalization and economic neo-colonization in the sub-region.
2. To provide a platform for formation of a peace network in NEA.
3. To provide an opportunity for inter-linking with other regions in Asia.

The program included Bible Studies, Theological Reflections on peace building, inputs on Realities of North East Asia with a specific focus on militarism in North East Asia, and workshops on Initiating and Building a Peace Network in North East Asia. As such, the topics explored were:
1. Militarism in NEA;
2. Peoples Security;
3. Theological perspectives on peace building and related contemporary issues;
4. Economic dominance and globalization;
5. Developing a network for peace in NEA.

The Consultation included 35 youth leaders, lay and ordained, academics and resource persons from Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Experiencing the context, the Consultation focused on issues of militarism and its affects on North East Asia.

The national delegations suggested and decided on specific action plans to be carried out over the next 2 years to address these issues.

The following sub-regional issues relevant to North East Asia were identified:
 A Multi-racial, Multi-cultural Society: After sharing the background of multi-racial problems in each country, the group found that the most common problem is that foreign people are not treated fairly in social welfare and that they are looked down upon by the local residents. They affirmed the need to address the safety and rights of foreign workers in North East Asia. As a concrete step, the participants decided to set up a web page to provide information on relevant issues as resources for them.
 Peaceful relations across the Taiwan Strait: The group recognized the need to promote solidarity and understanding for security and stability across the Taiwan Strait. The participants decided to share information and facilitate an education program for the peaceful and healthy co-existence of all East Asian countries and their peoples.
 Military bases in NE Asian countries, We need Friendships, not War-Ships: the group re-affirmed their right, and the right of their nations, to make their own decision without depending on the hegemony of powerful nations. The participants resolved to make themselves more aware about issues related to militarism in each others country, and support each countrys action against War-Ships with their physical presence, where possible, as well as with their prayers.
 Reunification in Korean Peninsula: The Consultation participants took cognizance and recognized the division of the Korean Peninsula, a division that is keeping families and peoples apart. They committed their support to the Unification efforts on the Korean Peninsula.

An important aspect of the Consultation was the two-day workshop on action planning for peace initiatives, nationally and sub-regionally. The workshops helped the participants focus their concerns on one or two national issues and two to three sub-regional issues. The national delegations prioritized one issue and developed concrete action plans to be followed by the respective NCC youth departments.

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