“We celebrate in memory of that tragic fratricidal war that broke out due to the invasion of North Korea 70 years ago on June 25; because it is a precious opportunity to give thanks and praise to God for having constantly assisted our people and our Church, guiding us with unceasing love for the way of truth and life for such a long period of time, the period of the war and after the armistice in 1953 until today; because it is also an important opportunity to renew, as citizens of Korea and as Christians, the determination to carry out our mission of commitment to the reconciliation and unity of the people and for peace, that is, for the evangelization of the Korean Peninsula.”
With these words Cardinal Andrea Soo-jung Yeom, Archbishop of Seoul and Apostolic Administrator of Pyongyang, addressed the faithful present in the Cathedral of Seoul on June 25, celebrating a mass on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War, the conflict that shocked the peninsula from 1950 to 1953, reported Fides News Agency. All the baptized in Korea live this anniversary with the intention of praying for reconciliation, for the unity of the people and for peace on the Korean peninsula, with various initiatives at an ecumenical level, while respecting the strict measures put in place to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Cardinal recalled the immense suffering of that conflict which, in the aftermath of the Second World War, marked the division of the peninsula – the North under Soviet influence and the South under the American sphere of influence – and caused millions of victims: “During this war, about 700 thousand soldiers of the South Korean and North Korean armed forces, about 40 thousand soldiers of the United Nations armed forces, and about 150 thousand soldiers of the armed forces of China died. Among the civilians of South Korea about 400 thousand people died or were killed, more than 300 thousand people went missing, and about 90 thousand people were deported to North Korea. Over 280 thousand people died among North Korean civilians and about 800 thousand people went missing”.