To understand North Korean strategy today, we must first understand the implications of its geography.
Korea is a peninsula jutting southward from Manchuria surrounded by the Yellow and Japan seas. It shares an 880-mile-wide border with China and has a 30-mile frontier with Russia.
Korea’s northeastern border is about 70 miles from Vladivostok, Russia’s major eastern port. The southeast corner juts to within 100 miles of Japan to its south, and the peninsula’s southwest shore angles westward only about 300 miles from Shanghai.
Editor’s note: This article was originally written in 2016.<!–more–>
The recent arrest of two American citizens working in North Korea has brought attention to the curious case of Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), an American-founded, evangelical-affiliated school in the capital city of the world’s most notorious dictatorship.
It’s hard to think of a less likely place for American Christians to teach than North Korea, a country the United States has not had diplomatic ties with for over 60 years and where religious freedom does not exist.
Kim Hak Song and Kim Sang Duk, both Christians and professors teaching at PUST, the only private university in North Korea, were detained last month on charges of “hostile” acts or intent against the North Korean government—the same allegation that kept Youth With a Mission missionary Kenneth Bae in prison for more than two years, longer than any other American arrested in the country. (Bae was finally released, in ailing health, in 2014.)… read more
North Korea is the number one country for most severe persecution of Christians, according to Open Doors 2017 World Watch List, but despite the extreme persecution Christians there face, the church is growing, reports a North Korean defector.
The Christian Post reports that Kim Chung-seong was able to escape North Korea right before he was to be killed. He now lives in South Korea and is involved in missions work.
“The one thing that the North Korean regime fears the most, and is afraid of, is the spreading of the Gospel,” he said Friday while attending the first annual World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians in Washington, D.C. “Because the Bible and the Gospel speaks the truth. Once the light shines in the dark room, there is light in the room.”…. read more
Another U.S. citizen has been detained in North Korea, according to a report Sunday.
North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency said Kim Hak Song, who worked for Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, was detained Saturday “on suspension of his hostile acts against it,” Reuters reported.
This is the fourth American citizen currently in North Korean detention, and the second taken in under a month.
In April, Kim Sang-duk, who also goes by his American name, Tony Kim was detained in North Korea when he attempted to leave the country for “hostile criminal acts with an aim to subvert the country,” KCNA said, according to the New York Times…. read more
lhwm notes: This is the fourth victim North Korea has taken and then makes demands (North Korea Arrests Another US Citizen, Threatens To Nuke White House And Destroy “Murderous American Ogres”).
WASHINGTON— Tensions on the Korean peninsula are reaching an unprecedented boiling point, as North Korea’s leader threatens war with China, its strongest and most important ally, over its “nuclear betrayal.”
A Beijing official told both the U.S. and North Korea, along with Japan and South Korea, to “stop irritating each other” on Wednesday, prompting the Korean Central News Agency to fire back.
“China had better ponder over the grave consequences to be entailed by its reckless act of chopping down the pillar of” North Korea-China relations, a KCNA statement read, according to Reuters. “A string of absurd and reckless remarks are now heard from China every day only to render the present bad situation tenser.”
The statement blasted “ignorant politicians and media persons” in China for unfairly calling on Pyongyang to give up its nuclear-weapons program…. read more
With each passing day, it becomes more and more clear that North Korea has a very short temper.
After Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman called North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un a “madman,” which hurt the “dignity of the supreme leadership” according to North Korea’s state-run news, the communist regime responded saying Israel is going to face a “merciless, thousand-fold punishment.”
In an interview with Hebrew news site Walla this week, the hawkish Liberman stated that North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un is a “madman” and that together with the leaders of Iran and Syria was part of an “insane and radical” gang that was bent on undermining international stability…. read more