North Korea (MNN) — North Korea is shoring up the leadership
credentials of its untried dictator-in-waiting with a deadly artillery attack on a disputed sea
border in South Korean territory.
Tuesday's artillery attack was a clear violation of the
57-year-old armistice between the hostile nations. Todd Nettleton with Voice
of the Martyrs USA explains, "South Korea was doing some military exercises near the border between
the two countries. North Korea felt threatened and responded by actual border
fire onto a South Korean island."
South Korea returned fire and scrambled F-16 fighters. When it was all said and done, two South Korean marines were dead, at least
12 wounded. There were also reports of
civilian injuries and property damage.
The attack comes as 26-year-old Kim Jong-Un gradually takes
over from his father, Kim Jong-il. Nettleton says this was no surprise for their ministry partners. "Their words to us were, ‘Watch for them to be very aggressive because they want
to present that face of strength,' saying, ‘Even though there's a transition
going on, we're not weak. We cannot be overcome right now.' It seems like that was almost prophetic."
There's another concern as the new dictator bloods his
regime. North Korea has consistently
topped the world's human rights watch lists as being the most repressive and
closed nation on earth. What will happen
to the believers already under the scrutiny of Kim Jong-il?
While no one expected things to shift toward freedom, the
events of the last few days do not bode well for Christians. Nettleton says, "If they want to show an aggressive face to
the rest of the world, how much more does the regime want to show a strong and
aggressive face to their own people? They certainly don't want anyone within North Korea to get the idea that
the regime could be overthrown during this time of transition."
It seems that Kim Jong-Un has already revealed who he will
be as he forms the ethos of his early rule. That means creativity will continue to play a key role. "Voice
of the Martyrs has been active for decades, in getting the Gospel into North
Korea," explains Nettleton. They've used Gospel balloons to get the word
in, as well as other means that can't be tracked to a single person.
For those who've left the country and found Christ, there
are some who want to take that hope back to their country. It's risky and expensive. However, "We also have been involved in
helping people who are going into the country, to equip them and train them for
Pray that God will reveal Himself to Kim Jong-Un so that he
might embrace Christ. There's a lot of paranoia breeding fear that
can make believers ineffective. Nettleton
says, "This is a country where parents
are hesitant to tell their own children that they are Christians, because even
at school, children are asked to spy on their parents." Pray for wisdom and
strength for the Christians.