North Korea opens doors to church conference

The Anglican Church of Korea reports that the Communist government in Pyongyang has given its permission for the Korea Conference of Religions for Peace (KCRP) to hold an interfaith gathering in North Korea in 2015 to mark the 70th anniversary of the peninsula’s independence from Japan. The Rev. Kim Kwang-jun, a priest of the Anglican Diocese of Seoul who has been tapped by the KCRP to organize the meeting reported North Korea’s Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Foreign Ministry had given its approval for the gathering, tentatively scheduled for late August/early September in Pyongyang, Fr. Kim said the Ministry of Interior had yet to give its permission, but he was confident that they would soon come round. The KCRP represents seven of South Korea’s major religious groups and organises ecumenical and interreligious meetings worldwide. “We’ve finished sharing our ideas with the Choson Conference of Religions, a group representing the five major religious groups in North Korea,” Fr Kim said. The free practice of Christianity is unlawful in North Korea, and Christians are actively persecuted by the government, the US State Department reports. Defectors report that a large number of the country’s estimated 150,000 political prisoners have been jailed for their faith.

 
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