We Ought to Remember North Korean Christians Even After Summit
ICC Note: When the world is feeling positive about the U.S. rapprochement with North Korea, Lela Gilbert from Newsmax reminds us that North Korean Christians are still suffering at this very moment and their plight should not be overlooked given the seemingly improved relations and behavior of Pyongyang.
06/28/2018 North Korea (Newsmax) – The Singapore Summit on June 12 between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un is now in the world’s rear-view mirror.
Reactions range from relief, to cautious optimism, to outright skepticism.
North Korean officials canceled anti-U.S. demonstrations in Pyongyang originally scheduled to occur on June 25 — another signal that a political thaw actually may be taking place.
The June 25 date is significant. In 1950 it marked the onset of the Korean War. The North Koreans call it the “Day of Struggle Against U.S. Imperialism” — conveniently overlooking the fact that the war began when North Korean troops, backed by China and Russia, poured across the border into the South.
Cancelling the demonstrations could indicate the Kim regime is sincere about its promise to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. But many questions remain.
The summit concluded with the principals signing an agreement: North Korea would denuclearize and would return the remains of America’s Korean War dead. The U.S. would suspend joint military exercises with South Korea.
“The good news,” remarked Richard N. Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, “is that the Singapore summit initiated a diplomatic process with the potential to make a contribution to stability and peace. War seems much more distant than it did just months ago.”
The recent signs of continuing rapprochement are encouraging. But there is another element to the negotiations that must ultimately be addressed: North Korea’s horrific human rights abuses simply cannot be ignored.
The US State Department’s 2017 report sums up the conditions endured by North Korea’s ordinary citizens, as follows” . . . extrajudicial killings; disappearances; arbitrary arrests and detentions; torture; political prison camps in which conditions were often harsh, life threatening, and included forced and compulsory labor; unfair trials; rigid controls over many aspects of citizen’s lives, including arbitrary interference with privacy, family, home, and correspondence, and denial of the freedoms of speech, press, assembly, association, religion, and movement; denial of the ability to choose their government; coerced abortion; trafficking in persons; severe restrictions on worker rights, including denial of the right to organize independent unions and domestic forced labor through mass mobilizations and as a part of the re-education system. . . . ”
Add to that the fact that up to 100,000 North Koreans continue to suffering relentless and unimaginable brutality in Kim’s notorious prisons and concentration camps.
Will those abused captives, many of them being punished for their religious beliefs, be forgotten in the rush to make peace with Kim’s regime?
Countless reports agree that because Christian believers cause the North Korean regime the greatest alarm; they also suffer the most abuse.
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