South Korean government to sue church council for food aid in North Korea

Tokyo, May 24 (ENInews)--The National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) has
requested its partners worldwide to pray for them and petition the Seoul
government to resume its economic support to starving North Koreans.

"The NCCK sent 172 tons of flour, worth $87,000, to the North Korean Christian
Federation on May 18, through the Amity Foundation in Nanjing, China," said Rev.
Heawon Chae, executive coordinator of the Ecumenical Forum for Peace,
Reunification, and Development Cooperation on the Korean Peninsula. The group is
affiliated with the NCCK.

"The South Korean government is now angry with the NCCK and plans to sue,
claiming the move violated the Law of Civilian Cooperation and Exchange between
the North and the South. The law forbids any contact with North Korea without
government permission," said Chae.

North Korea faces chronic economic problems, according to the CIA World
Factbook, which states "the population continues to suffer from prolonged
malnutrition and poor living conditions." Officials said the South Korean
Christians went ahead with an unauthorized shipment of food aid to North Korea
despite a warning from Seoul they could be punished, reported Agence
France-Presse on May 18.

"Because of South Korean President Lee Myung Bak’s stance for the past three
years, we could not send any food or medicine to the starving people in North
Korea," says Chae, who is currently attending the International Ecumenical Peace
Convocation in Jamaica. "But we will follow the order of Jesus Christ, to love
our suffering neighbors."

Hisashi Yukimoto

Hisashi Yukimoto writes for Ecumenical News International.

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