BIDEN DESIGNATES ENVOY TO NORTH KOREA

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US President Joe Biden has adjusted his previously held diplomatic stance towards North Korea after hosting South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the White House on Friday 21 May. Mr Moon has been pushing for peace with South Korea’s northern neighbour since he was elected president in 2017. He recently voiced his intention to prioritise urgent action to convince President Biden to facilitate bilateral conversation between North and South Korea. During a joint press conference, Mr Biden and Mr Moon expressed their concern over North Korea’s nuclear programme and affirmed their shared desire to see tensions decrease with North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jong-un. The Biden administration has repeatedly emphasised the importance of the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and has since delegated Sung Kim as special envoy to navigate the issue. Sung Kim is a veteran state department official who was former President Barack Obama’s envoy to North Korea and was involved in establishing former President Donald Trump’s summits with Kim Jong-un. He most recently served as the top US diplomat for East Asia, after stints as ambassador to South Korea, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Sung Kim has in-depth knowledge of North Korean policy which will aid in establishing a new strategy of approach for Mr Biden.  Mr Biden revealed at the press conference that he would be willing to meet with Kim Jong-un under the “right conditions,” however, such a summit would most likely be held on different terms to previous Trump/Kim summits, considering Mr Trump had a more favourable relationship with the North Korean leader. Though North Korea was a pressing matter, Mr Biden and Mr Moon also discussed vaccine distribution in South Korea, climate change, and security concerns around China’s activity in the East and South China Sea.  

From a Christian Perspective, North and South Korea have been focal points of prayer for the global Church since the peninsula was divided in the 1940s and 50s. At the time of separation, the growth of the Christian community in unified Korea fractured. The Church in South Korea experienced vibrant growth, but their brothers and sisters in North Korea were forced into hiding due to intense persecution. Recently, when the scheduled meeting between Mr Biden and Mr Moon was announced, hope was sparked in the hearts of many that such a meeting could potentially open doors for renewed discussions and reconciliation efforts with North Korea. Prayer requests were sent out to the global Church that this opportunity for further discussions of peace would not be missed. These prayers have already borne fruit since the US has agreed to rekindle efforts to de-escalate the tensions in the region. Praise the Lord for his beautiful timing and intricate involvement in the world. Though there has been some initial breakthrough, further intercessory prayer is needed. For real, sustained peace on the Korean Peninsula, the Lord will need to do a deep work in the hearts of the leaders. 

Pray with us for the following

  • For Godly wisdom, that all leaders involved will navigate this situation effectively
  • For the Lord to prepare the Church in both South and North Korea for a time when the nation may be reunited
  • For the Church in North Korea to be encouraged daily by the Holy Spirit as they persevere through persecution of many kinds

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Image: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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