Rescuing and serving persecuted Christians since 1995
Select Page

North Korea Says It Will Release U.S. Missionary

ICC Note: Robert Park, American missionary who walked into N Korea, to be released soon.


2/5/10 North Korea (NYTimes) — North Korea said Friday that it would release Robert Park, a Christian missionary from the United States who illegally entered the country on Christmas Day to urge its leader, Kim Jong-il, to shut down its concentration camps, free all its prisoners and resign.

North Korean officials said they “decided to leniently forgive and release him, taking his admission and sincere repentance of his wrongdoings into consideration,” according to a report by the North’s official news agency, K.C.N.A.

North Korea had remained silent about the fate of Mr. Park, 28, a Korean-American religious activist from Tucson who disappeared into the isolated nation after walking across a frozen river that makes up part of the border with China. Before his trip, he told friends in Seoul that he would die with political prisoners in the North if Mr. Kim refused to free them.

But Mr. Park confessed that he had been wrong about the North after meeting kind North Koreans, the K.C.N.A. report said.

“I seriously repent of the wrong I committed, taken in by the West’s false propaganda,” it quoted Mr. Park as saying in an interview. “What I have seen and heard in the North convinced me that I misunderstood it.”

The agency said Mr. Park gave the interview voluntarily.

There was no indication when he might be released.

Mr. Park also was quoted as saying that his prejudices about the North were shattered first by North Korean border guards who protected his human rights and later by the “shocking fact” he learned during a visit to Pongsu Church in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, that freedom of religion was fully protected in the North.

“They even returned my Bible to me,” he was quoted as saying. “This fact alone was enough to convince me that there was a complete freedom of religion.”

[See full story]