SEOUL – South Korean Church officials have condemned the recent military provocation from North Korea.

“The relationship between the North and the South worsened under the current South Korean government…the South Korean government should introduce dialogue and embrace the North,” said Father Johannes Kim Yong-hwan, chancellor of Incheon diocese, which covers Yeonpyeong, the attacked island.

On Nov 23, North Korea fired several hundreds of artillery shells at the South Korean island in the Yellow Sea. The attack killed two soldiers while injuring 13 soldiers and three civilians, says the South Korean military.

The shells also set fire to some 70 houses and mountains in the island, local media reported. Meanwhile, South Korea prompted a return fire aiming at the North Korean coastal artillery base.

Father Kim expressed concern for the island’s residents, 452 of whom are Catholics. However, there have been no reports of wounded Catholics in the area so far.

According to Father Baptist John Kim Hun-il, executive secretary of the Subcommittee for Aid to North Korea under the Korean bishops’ committee for reconciliation, North Korea should stop the attack unconditionally.

“Aiming at civilians and civilians’ houses is inhumane and it can cause further tragedy in the Korean peninsula,” he added, urging South Korea to stop the return fire and through dialogue persuade the North not to provoke such foolhardy attacks again.


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