While virtually everyone is aware of the apocalyptic nuclear threat posed by North Korea and the regime’s history of human rights abuses, far fewer are knowledgeable of the tremendous persecution of Christians that is permitted and perpetuated by the communist rulers of the isolated country.
One person who is well aware of that persecution — and has a bit of a connection to the country — is evangelical leader Franklin Graham, who recently sat down for an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network to discuss the recent summit between North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump.
Graham has traveled to North Korea on four separate occasions to provide humanitarian relief via his Samaritan’s Purse organization, and his late father Billy Graham ministered in the country twice in 1992 and 1994, while his mother actually attended high school in Pyongyang back in the 1930s.
In discussing Trump’s meeting with Kim, Graham expressed his belief that the summit will “have the potential to ease some of the persecution on believers in North Korea.” It is worth noting that North Korea has for years consistently been ranked as the worst nation in the world in terms of Christian persecution, according to The Christian Post.
“No question, no question. I think this meeting with Kim Jong Un and President Trump is huge,” Graham stated. “Yes, the Christians are going to benefit in North Korea as a result of President Donald J. Trump.”
The evangelical leader who has been quite supportive of Trump revealed that he has spoken with the president directly on the topic of Christian persecution in North Korea.
“I have talked with him on several occasions about North Korea and I believe this is probably one of the most dangerous areas of the world and I encouraged him to pay attention to it,” Graham said. “I am certainly glad that he and the rest of the administration are focusing on this region of the world.”
Graham expressed his great optimism about the possible future for North Korea and its inhabitants, as well as its neighbors and those neighbors’ allies — namely the United States — if a peace agreement can be reached, one that would hopefully lead to a draw-down of the U.S. military presence in the region.
“We still maintain our armies on the border, billions of dollars have been spent (over the last 50 years) and there has been no movement. And, President Trump is the first president who is trying to resolve this issue,” Graham stated.
“I commend him and just thank God that he has taken this direction and he is focusing on this,” he continued. “I think the North Koreans have been wanting to talk to the Americans for a long time.”
“This is the first administration that they have been able to talk to directly like this. The North Koreans just want to be shown respect and other administrations would just brush them off like they were nothing. These are prideful people,” he added.
Graham urged all Christians around the world, but especially in the U.S. and North Korea, to pray for their leaders. This, even as the leaders of North Korea have ruthlessly oppressed the relative handful of Christian believers in the communist nation.
“I want the communist government to know that Christians are not their enemies, that they have the potential of being the very best citizens in the country because God commands all of us to pray for those in authority — whether we pray for our own president or the people in North Korea that are Christians should be praying for their leadership,” Graham said.
In his post-summit media briefing, President Trump addressed the issue of Christian persecution in North Korea, and stated, “I brought it up, absolutely. They will work on that. We did not put it down in the document. It will be worked on. Christians, yes.”
“We brought it up. Franklin Graham spent and spends a tremendous amount of time in North Korea. He has it close to his heart. It did come up and things will be happening,” he added with a shout-out to the faith leader whose counsel he obviously appreciates.
It remains to be seen if there will be any sort of tangible evidence of less persecution of Christians in North Korea following this high-stakes meeting, but at least we know it was a topic of the discussion that will no longer be overlooked or swept under the rug.
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