North Korea: Crucial Summit 2-4 October

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Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | No. 443 | Wed 22 Aug 2007

At present North Korea is rated the world's worst abuser of human
rights and religious liberty. For more than 50 years the regime has
maintained power through isolation, brainwashing and terror and by
eliminating every threat (real and perceived) to its rule through
executions and incarceration. The regime has a gulag of some 200
concentration camps and prisons where criminals and 'political'
prisoners and their families to three generations are starved,
beaten and slave-worked to death. Of the estimated 200,000
prisoners, some 70,000 are believed to be there on account of their
Christianity. Meanwhile, for more than 50 years the prayers of the
Church (particularly the Korean Church) have been building from a
predominantly local chorus to a global symphony.

In June 2000 South Korean President Kim Dae-jung met with North
Korean dictator Kim Jong-il in a historic summit in Pyongyang. The
leaders signed a landmark document committing the two states to
work toward (amongst other things) reunification, family reunions,
economic co-operation and a cross-border railway. Despite US-North
Korea relations subsequently souring and the North Korean regime
retreating to a defensive posturing position from where it resorted
to nuclear blackmail, North and South Korea have made significant
strides forward. Family reunions have occurred, Korean sporting
teams have competed as one nation, the completed cross-border
railway had its historic test run in May this year, Kaesong
Industrial Park has opened for business and the Christian-funded,
English-language, Pyongyang University of Science and Technology
< http://www.pust.or.kr/eng/ > is nearing completion.

A second inter-Korean summit due to be held in Pyongyang 28-30
August 2007 has been postponed to 2-4 October due to the severe
flooding in North Korea. These floods have claimed some 300 lives
and left around 300,000 homeless. They have destroyed 11 percent of
the North's arable farmland, along with 800 public buildings and
540 bridges. This is by no means North Korea's first major
catastrophe, but it is the first time it has chosen not to hide it.
Furthermore, the regime is even requesting international
assistance. Regardless of the political reasons behind this episode
of openness, it is good that North Koreans will be receiving
humanitarian assistance from outsiders who love them and care
deeply about their lives.

This October summit is extremely important. If tensions can be
eased, threats removed and confidence built, North Korea will
probably start opening more to the outside world, initially through
the Internet. The Korea Times reports North Korea has a computer
technology centre. Broadband is already available, only not to the
public! It is crucial that we pray for and during this summit. This
year (2007) marks the centenary of the great Pyongyang revival that
transformed Korea spiritually and led to Pyongyang being known as
'The Jerusalem of the East'. Please join the symphony of prayer for
this nation.

(A more detailed version of this prayer bulletin will be posted to
the RLC News & Analysis list and the WEA website later this week.)


* that North Korean Christians will experience the love and
eternal, faithful presence of their Saviour Jesus Christ. 'For I
am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor
demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in
Christ Jesus our Lord.' (Romans 8:38,39 NIV)

* for the Spirit of God to be powerfully present in discussions
leading up to the inter-Korean summit and then at the summit
itself, directing hearts so they conform to his will (Proverbs
21:1) and his wisdom (Proverbs 2:6-15); may tensions ease and
confidence be built for the benefit of reform and God's Kingdom.

* for God to bring openness and liberty to North Korea. 'May the
groans of the prisoners come before you.' (Psalm 79:11a)




North Korea is rated the world's worst abuser of religious liberty.
Whilst US-North Korea relations have deteriorated over recent
years, the North-South inter-Korean rapprochement has been more
positive than most people may realise. The cross-border railway had
its historic test run in May this year, the Kaesong Industrial Park
is open for business and the Christian-funded, English-language,
Pyongyang University of Science and Technology is nearing
completion. These positive developments result from the historic
June 2000 inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang. A second summit is set
for 2-4 October 2007. Please pray that the Spirit of God will be
present before and during this Pyongyang summit, infusing divine
wisdom and directing the event and the hearts of participants, for
the sake of his Kingdom and glory.

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The WEA Religious Liberty Commission sponsors this
RL Prayer List to help individuals and groups pray
specifically and regularly for religious liberty
issues, and in particular to uphold the Church
where it is suffering persecution.

RL Prayer is moderated by Ron Clough, a commissioner
of the WEA RLC and convenor of the Australian EA RLC.
Elizabeth Kendal researched and authored this message.