World threatens North Korea with sanctions, Christians are concerned

By July 6, 2006

North Korea (MNN) — NATO is urging a firm international response to North Korea’s test-firing of seven missiles which defied international warnings. The decision to launch could mean sanctions or worse, according to some international experts. Those actions could have a considerable impact on the Korean population, including Christians.

Open Doors’ Paul Estabrooks has just completed a book called, ‘Escape from North Korea’ that’s set to be released shortly. “They’ve had a famine in the country for the past decade practically. It was especially bad in the middle 90’s. This is why most people are trying to escape out of the country initially, is just to get food. So, any sanctions are going to create more challenges.”

North Korea ranks number one on the Open Doors World Watch list of nations who persecute Christians. Estabrooks describes the Christian situation. “We do know that 50,000 to 70,000 of our brothers and sisters are in labor camps just because they’re believers. We estimate there could be anywhere from 100,000 to two or 300,000 Christians in North Korea today.”

According to Estabrooks, it wasn’t always like this. “North Korea, before the split, was known as the Jerusalem of the east. When the country was divided in 1952, many (Christians) escaped to the south, others were martyred, Christianity was forbidden.”

While there is a church there, outreach is done very quietly. “A lot of people have secret faith in North Korea, but have absolutely no freedom or opportunity to share it with anyone else,” says Estabrooks.

There are specific prayer requests for this country. “We’re all praying for openness there. No one wants a dramatic change, but certainly a regime change would make a difference for all the people in the land.”

There’s a concern that imprisoned Christians will receive worse treatment if sanctions are employed.

Leave a Reply