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SKorean Christians Divided on Activist NKorea Entry

Thursday, 31 Dec 2009 11:47 AM


A number of South Korean church leaders have criticized a U.S. activist’s illegal entry into North Korea, saying that his action will cause more harm than good for the North Korean Christians and citizens he meant to help.

Kim and other Korean church leaders raised concern about how North Korea would interpret actions of Robert Park, who reportedly crossed over into the isolated nation on Christmas Day. They said the North could think the Christian activist was politically motivated or being intentionally disrespectful to the government.

Father Raphael Seo Jong-yeob, executive secretary of the Korean Bishops’ Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People, went further and predicted that Park’s action will “aggravate the North’s hostility toward the South and the rest of the world” and hinder the reunification process of the peninsula.

According to fellow activists who witnessed the crossing, Park, a 28-year-old U.S. citizen from Tucson, Ariz., crossed the Tumen River and entered North Korea without permission on Christmas Day. Park, who had worked with North Korean refugees in China and advocated for greater human rights in North Korea while living in South Korea, said he hoped his illegal entry would bring international attention to the human rights abuse in the reclusive country.

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