In an exclusive interview, BTJ has learned that North Korea has not been sending their foreign diplomats adequate support to survive in other countries. Local pastors in foreign nations have taken the opportunity to provide secret aid and build relationships that represent the message of Christ.
Massive food shortages hit North Korea during the pandemic and a fallout of foreign aid has created such a huge crisis that even foreign diplomats living abroad in North Korean embassies are without food. “I have been taking food to the North Korean embassy,” Pastor Hans (not his real name) shared during an exclusive interview with BTJ. Pastor Hans has traveled to North Korea several times and has made friends with the diplomats from the ‘Hermit Kingdom’. “You should see their faces. They are so happy when they see me coming with food.”
Pastor Hans has been taking boxes of food to the embassy to help feed the hungry diplomats, staff, and their families. “At first they were suspicious and cautious of me, but over time, I have been able to show the love of Christ and build real relationships with them. They seem to really trust me now.”
North Korean foreign diplomats are carefully selected and highly scrutinized. North Koreans, including diplomats, who leave the country have to go through extensive brainwashing sessions. A system is implemented for independent monitoring, so that individuals can report on the behavior of others. The intricate reporting system is based on extreme fear.
The current President, Kim Jong Un, knows the system very well. He grew up as a secret diplomat in Switzerland, where he pretended to be the son of his aunt. The ruse worked. For many years, it successfully concealed that he was the son of then-President Kim Jong Il. The world intelligence community was not aware that Kim Jong Il had another son until Kim Jong Un was brought from Switzerland and groomed to be the next leader. Before Kim Jong Il became President however, his aunt and their family fled to America where they are currently living as secret refugees. According to North Korean law, Kim Jong Un should be in a re-education camp simply because his family members fled to America.
Today, it is not so easy for North Korean diplomats to simply flee their post and become refugees in other countries. There are many safety measures that are taken to keep them from leaving – including assassination on foreign soil. When the president’s own brother decided to flee to another country, it was not long before he was assassinated in an international airport in Malaysia.
Pastor Hans is extremely familiar with the challenges that North Korean diplomats have and the constant fear they live in. He also knows that, behind the closed doors of the embassy, they are starving. His kindness to them has opened them up to him in ways that he never thought possible and he thanks God for his new found friends at the embassy. “I share the Good News of Jesus with them all the time and they are eager to know more,” he says, regarding the time that he has shared with them.