When President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un abruptly ended denuclearization talks in Vietnam, watchdog groups and other experts weighing in on the impact.
As far as the impact on Christians in North Korea, Justin Hastings, a University of Sydney professor of international relations and comparative politics, told Christianity Today the summit is unlikely to help Christians, only in the long term, because “Christian influence in North Korea is one of the North Korean regime’s fears.”
Open Doors USA told Fox News Christian persecution is worsening in North Korea, according to their sources on the ground. “Tens of thousands of people are in concentration camps because they professed faith or were caught owning a Bible. We have seen little change thus far,” David Curry, president and CEO of Open Doors USA, said.
Jamie Kim, the chair of the Lausanne Movement’s North Korea Committee, believes further dialogue will result in Christian engagement. “Christians have led the way toward bridge building in the last 20-plus years, and the summit can potentially open the border between North and South Korea. While many of the Western NGOs and businesses have abandoned North Korea, it is the Christians who have stayed the ground.” Kim says Christians and non-profits should train and prepare for work inside the country should a door open in the next few years.
An anonymous Seoul-based researcher on North Korean affairs noted the United States’ travel ban preventing Americans from traveling to North Korea is not helping in a crucial need to expose the people to outsiders. “Any genuine transformation in the treatment of Christians in the country is unlikely to happen without a risky change in the regime’s approach to governance or, indeed, a complete change in the regime itself to a new government that allows freedom of religion,” the researcher explained.