North Korea Arrests Christian Professor; Fourth US Citizen Held as Crisis Between Nations Escalates

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According to Christian Post

North Korea has reportedly arrested a
U.S. citizen and professor from the
Pyongyang University of Science and
Technology who has identified himself as
a Christian. He is now the fourth
American held by Kim Jong-un’s regime.
The state-run KCNA news agency said
Kim Hak-song was detained on May 6,
becoming the second U.S.
citizen arrested from the evangelical-
funded PUST, and the fourth American
to currently be held.

North Korean officials said that they
were conducting a “detailed
investigation” of Kim Hak-song’s alleged
crimes and gave no further details,
though Reuters cited online posts from
the professor, who identified himself as
a Christian missionary.
Korean-American Tony Kim, who also
goes by his Korean name Kim Sang-duk
and is in his 50s, was the first to be
arrested last month from PUST. The
charges against him have also not been
made clear.
The university’s chancellor, Chan-Mo
Park, said in a statement that Tony Kim
had been involved with some other
activities outside PUST such as helping
an orphanage.
“I sincerely hope and pray that he will
be released soon,” Park said.
CNN reported that Kim Hak-song, the
latest U.S. citizen under arrest, was born
in Jilin, China, and educated at a
university in California. He had
apparently been committed to improving
North Korea’s agricultural economy.
“He was a very diligent, hardworking
man determined to help people in North
Korea,” former classmate David Kim
said.
Kim Hak-song became a U.S. citizen in
the 2000s, before returning to China,
where he still has family members.
After majoring in agriculture at a
university in Yanbian, China, the
professor decided to go to Pyongyang in
2015.
“Professor Kim was a man who would
call North Korea as his own country. He
went to Pyongyang to devote himself to
the development of North Korea’s
agricultural technology so that the North
can be self-sufficient with food,” David
Kim explained.
David Lee, another former classmate in
the U.S., said that Kim would send food
to North Korea out of concern for the
starving people.
“North Korea is persecuting their savior,
a person who came to help them. This is
wrong,” Lee said.
The U.S. state department said in a short
statement that it is aware of the latest
arrest.
“When a U.S. citizen is reported to be
detained in North Korea, we work with
the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang,
which serves as the United States’
Protecting Power in North Korea,” an
official with the State Department said.
Kim Hak-song’s arrest comes as the
already strained relationship between
North Korea and the U.S. continues to
deteriorate.
U.S. President Donald Trump warned he
fears a “major conflict” with North
Korea, given that Kim Jong-un chooses to
ignoring international sanctions and
continues testing out ballistic missiles.
Persecution watchdog groups such as
International Christian Concern have
warned that if the North Korean regime
falls, as some defectors are predicting
may happen within five years, it would
create a massive refugee crisis in Asia
that could surpass the current one in
Syria.
North Korea, where practicing one’s
faith openly or even owning a Bible are
illegal, remains the world’s worst
persecutor of Christians, according to
Open Doors USA.

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