World Council of Churches urges North Korea to return to nuclear control pact |

World Council of Churches urges North Korea to return to nuclear control pact

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil – The World Council of Churches urged North Korea on Tuesday to return to the international accord controlling the spread of nuclear technology and appealed to Iran to use its atomic program for peaceful purposes.The churches’ message – made during the most diverse gathering of Christian denominations in nearly a decade – also calls on nuclear powers including the United States to pledge never to use their arsenals in a first strike.The World Council of Churches is debating a series of statements on issues such as terrorism and climate change before it wraps up a 10-day global assembly on Thursday. The council includes more than 350 churches representing 500 million followers, mostly from mainline Protestant, Anglican and Orthodox traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member.The WCC urged North Korea to make a “fully verifiable return” to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which it left in 2003 amid international pressure over its nuclear program.The council also said Iran should abandon threats to withdraw from the treaty and stick with its pledges opposing nuclear arms. The United States and other nations accuse Iran of seeking nuclear weapons, but Tehran says it wants only to develop reactors to produce electricity.The WCC called on India and Pakistan, which have nuclear arms, and Israel to sign the treaty. Israel is widely believed to possess atomic weapons, though it refuses to confirm or deny that.”As more states acquire nuclear arms the risk of nuclear weapons falling into non-state hands increases – just when it is an international imperative to wisely overcome the violence of terrorism,” said the message by the WCC, which urged all churches to press governments to “recognize the incontrovertible immorality of nuclear weapons.”The WCC said the five original nuclear states – Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States – “must pledge never to be the first to use nuclear weapons (and) never threaten any use.”Vail, Colorado

Support Local Journalism