North Korea neighbors shore up borders; concern grows for future of trapped believers.

By October 18, 2006

North Korea (MNN)–North Korea considers United Nations’-imposed sanctions a ‘declaration of war’.

Voice of the Martyrs Canada’s Glenn Penner says with China’s obvious distancing, the ramifications are clear. “We do know that it’s going to be far more difficult for refugees to escape into China with the possible implication of a blockade.” Reports indicate a massive concrete and barbed wire fence is going between the borders and that China is now inspecting what comes across.

Other sources report customs officers in the border ports have tightened inspections of ships heading for North Korea.

What does this mean for those who have been bringing aid from the South? Penner says, “We do know that for South Koreans to go into the country and to bring some aid, even very clandestinely, is likely to be more of a challenge with tensions between North and South Korea escalating.”

Earlier MNN reports stated distribution networks inside North Korea were dismantled when the doors started closing. According to the Christian Reformed World Relief Committe, without a means to distribute, there can’t be a humanitarian operation.

Additionally, Penner says what little information they had about the remnant church is likely to dwindle. Already, the reports of persecution of Christians were coming weeks and months after the fact.

With the country falling into an even more isolative state, Penner urges, “We need to be praying for the believers there. Life is difficult for all North Koreans. Life is even more difficult for North Korean Christians. We need to be praying for them as these sanctions take place.”

And evangelism? The only evidence that it takes place inside North Korea is the evidence of a remnant church. North Korea’s government is on a mission to eradicate the country of that remnant and pursues all means to do so.

The presence of sanctions on an already triturated nation may not have the hoped-for impact. Penner says, “I don’t believe for an instant the North Korean leadership is really going to get hurt, but that the people may end up more oppressed.”

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