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02/28/2019 North Korea (International Christian Concern) – Eight months after their first meeting in Singapore, North Korea Chairman Kim Jong-Un and U.S. President Donald Trump met for the second time in Hanoi, Vietnam last night. They were scheduled to sign a Hanoi declaration to showcase the results of their negotiations, but it did not take place.

While the denuclearization of North Korea seemed to take center stage of this summit, what has been missing from the agenda, is North Korea’s notorious human rights record.

According to Open Doors report, the situation for North Korean Christians has grown worse – there has been “an increased number of arrests and abductions of South Korean and Chinese Korean missionaries in China, the strengthened border control with harsher punishment for North Korean citizens who are repatriated from China, and increased efforts by the North Korean government to eliminate all channels for spreading the Christian faith.”

The estimated 300,000 Christians in the country continue to live in fear, as Pyongyang views Christians as outlawed and could throw them in prison, torture, or even kill them as it pleases. At least tens of thousands of them are currently held in prisons or labor camps.

Meanwhile, a North Korean defector shares with World Watch Monitor how even daily life for North Koreans is not easy. “Life [in North Korea] is very rough. Frequent food shortages, power cuts, typhoons, floods and other natural disasters; just some of the challenges North Koreans still have to deal with. Add to that gross human rights violations, total lack of freedom, information censorship, propaganda and the ongoing political mismanagement and you can see why living in North Korea is like living in Orwell’s 1984,” he said last year.

Without addressing the human rights issues at the Summit, the lives of North Koreans will not be improved and their ordeal continues. The denuclearization goal needs not overshadow the call for basic rights for these suffering citizens.

For interviews with Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected]