Praise God that North Korea has released Pastor Kim Dong-chul, Tony Kim and Kim Hak-song, three American citizens, ahead of the upcoming talks between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took the three men back to the United States after meeting with Kim Jong-Un in Pyongyang. Kim Hak Song and Tony Kim had both been imprisoned for over a year, while Pastor Kim Dong-chul had been in prison for two and a half years.


Kim Hak Song had previously described himself as a missionary, and worked in agricultural development at an experimental farm run by the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. The university mostly teaches the children of North Korea’s elite, and was founded in 2010 by a Korean-American Christian entrepreneur, with much of the costs funded by US and South Korea Christian charities.

Kim Hak Song was detained on 6 May 2017, for engaging in unspecified ‘hostile acts’ against North Korea. The university denied that he was arrested because of his work there.

Tony Kim (56) also worked at the Pyongyang University of Science & Technology, and was detained on 22 April 2017 at Pyongyang airport as he tried to leave the country. He was accused of committing ‘criminal acts of hostility aimed to overturn’ North Korea. No further details were published about his ‘crimes’, except that he had not been detained because of his work at the Pyongyang University of Science & Technology.

Pastor Kim Dong-Chul (64) ran a company in North Korea’s special economic zone before his arrest on 25 October 2015. He received a 10-year prison term with hard labour in April 2016 for allegedly ‘perpetrating state subversive plots and espionage against’ North Korea.


It is fantastic for these three men and their families that they are finally free. But there are tens of thousands of North Korean citizens who are imprisoned in North Korea in horrific conditions, who do not have a person to advocate for them.

Open Doors estimates that there are between 50,000 and 70,000 Christians imprisoned in North Korea, simply for daring to believe that there is a higher power than Kim Jong-un – Jesus.

And yet, despite the risks they face, Open Doors estimates that there are between 200,00 and 400,000 courageous secret Christians in North Korea, who believe that following Jesus is worth the risk.

They may not have a person advocating for their freedom, but they do have us – the worldwide family of God. You can stand with them in prayer, knowing that there is nowhere too dark or too dangerous for the hand of God to reach.

Open Doors’ goal has always been to ‘strengthen what remains and is about to die’ (Rev 3:2). This verse is especially applicable for the situation of the North Korean Church. Through the worldwide family of God, our brothers and sisters in North Korea can be blessed with emergency relief aid (food, medicines, clothes, etc.), Bible and other Christian materials, training through radio broadcasting, shelter and training for believers.

North Korea has been No.1 since World Watch List 2002 and remains at this position, with an increase of 2 points compared to WWL 2017.


  • For healing for Kim Hak Song, Tony Kim and Pastor Kim Dong-Chul, and a smooth transition for them back into normal life
  • For comfort for the thousands of imprisoned believers in North Korea, and that one day soon they will be free
  • For protection, courage and discernment for secret believers in North Korea, and provision of their daily bread and spiritual support.


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