02/28/2014, 00.00
KOREA
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North Korea rejects request for the release of arrested Christian missionary

The government in Pyongyang fails to justify its decision. Kim Jeong-wook, a Baptist, was arrested in October 2013. At a press conference organised by the regime, he asks for "mercy" and admits his "crimes" against the North.

Seoul (AsiaNews) - The government of North Korea rejected a request for the release of Christian missionary Kim Jeong-wook, who was arrested in October 2013 and appeared for the first time yesterday at a press conference organised by the regime.

During the conference, Kim "admitted to crimes" against Pyongyang and asked the Stalinist authorities to have "mercy on him."

Immediately after that, the South Korean government asked the North to release the missionary. Today, it received a negative response.

The South Korean Unification Ministry, which handles relations with North Korea, made ​​it clear that it was not given the reasons for the refusal.

Kim, a Baptist missionary, yesterday said that he "tried to create a network of house churches in North Korea with the support of the intelligence services of the South", which however denied any involvement.

Kim, 50, was arrested on the day he crossed into North Korea from China. According to the agents of the Stalinist regime, he was carrying Bibles and "other Christian religious materials."

Immediately after he was arrested, Pyongyang announced it had captured a "spy", but since then it had ceased mentioning the missionary's name.

Kim is not alone in his predicament. John Short, a 75-year-old Australian missionary, and Kenneth Bae, a US citizen sentenced to 15 years for "subversive activities," are also detained in the North.

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