North Korea: peace summit uncertain, Christians wary

By May 30, 2018

North Korea (MNN) — Last week, President Trump announced that he would not be attending a historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Since then, rumors about the on-again, off-again summit have been flying. But either way, Eric Foley of Voice of the Martyrs Korea, a sister branch of the Voice of the Martyrs USA, says North Korean Christians are worried the summit may not be the answer they need.

The summit fell through when President Trump announced that, because of perceived hostility from North Korea, he would not be attending. Since then, the world has been watching as ambassadors from both countries suggest the summit could be salvageable.

“There’s an incredible amount of discussion between Washington and Seoul and Pyongyang, and that continues even at this moment,” Foley says. “They’re having discussions about how to salvage the summit and what are the next steps in the process.”

Photo Courtesy Voice of the Martyrs

But Foley says the summit might not be all it’s cracked up to be. North Korea destroyed a nuclear testing tunnel and apparatus as a sign of peace, but Foley pointed out that a similar situation happened in 2008. Furthermore, reports of recent peace documents are “almost verbatim what we heard in 1991″, Foley observes.

In other words, we shouldn’t get too excited too quickly about headlines. Instead, Foley says we should be talking to people who understand the situation firsthand.

“In times like this especially, it’s important for us to turn to our North Korean Christian brothers and sisters and say ‘What do you make of this? How do you pray?’”

So, what do they make of it?

“Here in South Korea, astonishingly, polls show that about 80% of South Koreans now trust Kim Jong Un, and that’s quite a bit different than just a month or two ago.”

On the flipside, in North Korea, Foley reported that studies show almost no one trusts him. Why the rift? Because there’s been no suggestion that North Korea is ready to look at its own human rights issues.

“Securing North Korea’s commitment not to launch nuclear weapons toward the United States would not in any way secure North Korea’s commitment to change the way it treats its own people.”

That’s why Foley says it’s so important to go to God.

“That kind of uncertainty is what keeps us as Christians glued to the headlines looking for knowing how to pray, but it’s really at times like this that it’s not the headlines that should be shaping how we pray. Rather, we should be turning to the Bible.”

(Photo courtesy of Voice of the Martyrs)

He continues, “No matter what the governments say, our focus needs to be the same when we sit down and pray. Yes, the Bible tells us that we should pray for our political leaders, but it says that our first prayers should be for those who are imprisoned.”

According to multiple sources, there are an estimated 30,000 Christians imprisoned in North Korea.

“Pray that in this time of great uncertainty, not only in the US and South Korea but even in North Korea, pray that Christians there will be given the wisdom to share with people about a permanent hope.”

Foley says the uncertainty surrounding North Korea’s future could actually develop into an opportunity for ministry.

“We have a wrong picture of the underground North Korean Church when we think of them as being hidden or hunkered down waiting for a peace process to give them the opportunity to come back above ground,” he said. “For more than three generations, they’ve faithfully shared the Gospel, so a situation like today is another opportunity to share that the only real peace and hope can be found in Jesus Christ.”

Find out how you can support North Korean Christians through Voice of the Martyrs.

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