Another tourist arrested in North Korea

In an earlier post, I posed the question about whether it was ethical to travel to a place like North Korea.  I am still not completely decided, but I lean towards it being unethical.  Ethics aside, it’s probably not a good idea to go, and if you do go, probably not a good idea to try anything that will get you noticed.

North Korea has arrested a Christian missionary from Australia, his family said on Wednesday, taking him into captivity even as it continues to face pressure to release an American missionary it has held for more than a year.

The Australian, John Short, 75, was arrested in the capital, Pyongyang, on Sunday, according to his wife, Karen. She said the trip was her husband’s second to North Korea. He had religious materials that had been translated into Korean, according to a statement by his family.

Mr. Short’s detention comes more than a year after North Korea arrested Kenneth Bae, an American missionary, after he entered the country from China. Mr. Bae was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for committing “hostile acts” against the North, and Pyongyang has repeatedly resisted strong American pressure to release him.

In an interview with Reuters, Ms. Short said her husband had been open with North Korean officials about his faith and even read his Bible in front of government guides during his first trip there. “He won’t be intimidated by the Communists,” she said.

Mr. Short has been repeatedly arrested in China after doing evangelical work there and “speaking out about brutality against Chinese Christians” in the country, according to a biography of him posted on a Christian website called Gospel Attract. His work in China began after the death of Mao Zedong in 1976, the biography said.

While I certainly hope that the North releases him as soon as possible, what he did was truly stupid and risky.  I can understand the missionary zeal, but these minders were chosen to be people who could be trusted to stick to the party line.


About Leon Whyte

I'm a recent graduate of the Fletcher school of Law and Diplomacy. My interests include Pacific Asia and Security. I am looking for related opportunities.
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