A student at one of our discipleship training bases for North Koreans shared with us that in March, the North Korean government broadcast a one-hour news conference about South Korean Missionary Kim Jong Uk, the missionary who is now detained in North Korea after entering the country illegally for evangelistic purposes.
Here’s what our student recollected about the press conference:
The news conference was repeatedly broadcast for three days, so it was seen by many people in NK (since there is only one television channel). In the broadcast, Missionary Kim was introduced as a South Korean spy who taught the Word of God to Korean Chinese people in Northeast China. Along with Missionary Kim, the press conference featured one NK woman (shown with her face blocked) who purportedly lured Missionary Kim inside North Korea.
The North Korean woman had been in Missionary Kim’s discipleship program and had allegedly gone back and forth between North Korea and China gathering information and taking pictures for Missionary Kim. The North Korean woman told Missionary Kim that if he had money, he could build churches in North Korea. The woman said her brother was a high level government official, so through his help they could pass the guard posts all the way to Pyongyang within a day. However, as soon as they arrived at [name of city withheld], Missionary Kim was caught by the police.
In the news conference, Missionary Kim admitted he had come to North Korean to build churches and to remove all of the statues in the country. Including the North Korean woman in the press conference, he revealed the names of 33 other North Korean women trained by him in China. So all women trainees were sent to the labor camp. The North Korean woman said she deceived Missionary Kim by not telling the truth and that actually she wanted to start a restaurant in North Korea with money from Missionary Kim.
Missionary Kim indicated that he had requested the news conference. He said that he wanted to show his family members and his organization that he is alive. He appeared to believe that the news conference would be broadcast all over the world; however, to this day it has not been broadcast anywhere except North Korea. Even there, our student said that the news conference did not make much of a stir: North Korean people were not interested in this news. He said that North Korean people are so busy making ends meet that they cannot concern themselves with others’ situations.
Our student said that the new conference marked the first time inside North Korea that he had ever heard about God. Publicly broadcast. For three days. On government television. To everyone in North Korea.
15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. (Philippians 1:15-18, NIV)