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February 26, 2018
Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster
National Security Advisor
National Security Council
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
Dear General McMaster,
As you know very well, tensions continue to escalate on the Korean peninsula as people ponder what will happen after the Olympics. In light of continuing concerns, and on behalf of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, it seems opportune to bring to your attention a message received from the Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (CBCK). The message expresses hope for the "denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," and calls for this goal to be achieved through "frequent dialogues and meetings."
Bishop Peter Lee Ki-heon, who chairs this Committee, is bishop of Uijeongbu, a diocese located very close to the Demilitarized Zone. He hosted a conference from November 30 – December 3, 2017 on the "Catholic's Role for Peace on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia." Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego, a member of the Committee on International Justice and Peace, was invited to Korea to speak at this conference. Bishop Lee was born in what is now North Korea and has made two trips into North Korea carrying the message of reconciliation through dialogue.
Bishop Lee's message welcomed the Winter Olympics as a step forward on the path to peace. Archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee-joong, CBCK President, affirmed this approach saying, "I believe that the safe and sound ways to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue and to pursue peace on the Korean Peninsula are not through sanctions, pressure nor force, but through dialogues and negotiation, although the latter may take a longer time." Pope Francis has urged that conflicts, such as the one in Korea, be settled through dialogue, mutual respect, and compromise.
In solidarity with the Catholic Church in Korea and the efforts of the South Korean government, I urge the United States to encourage and support these efforts to use diplomacy, rather than military confrontation, as a means to alleviate tensions and resolve this long-standing conflict on the Korean peninsula.
Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio
Chair, Committee on International Justice and Peace
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