Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
LOS ANGELES (ANS) -- Since the unexpected death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il December 17th, and the succession to power of his third son, Kim Jong-un, the underground Christian church has faced increased persecution.
Kim Jong-un surrounded by military leaders (source: AP)
“Three weeks ago seven underground churches got exposed,” says Thomas Kim, executive director of Cornerstone Ministries, which is actively involved in serving the church in North Korea. “It’s been very difficult for the last month and I think it’s going to continue,” he says.
The North Korean leadership apparently fears the kind of insurrection that swept other communist regimes and is now sweeping the Middle East. “They are scared there will be an uprising,” Kim notes. “They are scared by the expansion of the Christian faith because Christians will die for their faith.”
The old guard surrounding Kin Jong-un are anxious for a smooth transition, and this is impacting the church. “The regime has been putting pressure on to stabilize society,” Kim says. In the months preceding Kim Jong-il’s death, there were few attempts to search for underground believers, but that has changed.
“Now the regime is putting out many people to search for the underground church,” Kim notes. “There is a need to pray for protection.”
Mark Ellis is a senior correspondent for ASSIST News Service and the founder ofwww.Godreports.com. He is available to speak to groups about the plight of the church in restricted countries, to share stories and testimonies from the mission field, and to preach the gospel.