Events in Northeast Asia this year “dramatise how much the region and the world still live in the shadow of mass destruction”, the World Council of Churches' General Secretary said in a comment on the 68th anniversary this week of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
“The God of life calls all of us to take up [the survivors’] tireless cry and make certain that a Hiroshima or Nagasaki bombing can never happen again,” he declared.
Churches from around the world are coming to South Korea soon for the 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC). Participants will learn the Hiroshima legacy from churches there, the Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit said.
These include Cold War rivals North Korea and the United States “still brandishing nuclear weapons”, increasing US military deployments in the region, and government officials in Tokyo speculating about Japan developing nuclear weapons.
Sixty years after the Korean War ceasefire, “none of the antagonists have a peace treaty,” Tveit noted, “but every country in Northeast Asia has its own nuclear arms or accepts protection from US nuclear weapons”.
He cited Buddhist, Christian and civil society advocacy that the Korean Peninsula “must be freed of nuclear weapons as a cornerstone for any durable peace”.
The finest tribute to the two destroyed cities, Tveit said, will be to achieve the elderly survivors’ undying hope. This means ensuring that no one suffers the fate of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ever again. It means protecting “God’s gift of life … for the good of all”.