A Korean-American missionary who was tortured by North Koreans has begged U.S. President Donald Trump to resist going to war with Kim Jong Un, warning that a military option could kill countless of civilians and many of the hidden Christians there.
"Please kindly be reminded that a large number of underground Christians are within North Korea. They are the most persecuted religious group in the world, according to multiple watchdogs of religious rights internationally. As I pray your team accepts upon deep reflection, it would be decidedly un-Christian to countenance indiscriminate killings of those who are among the people in the world who suffer the most," Robert Park said in his open letter to Trump last week, which was published in The Korea Herald.
"As was recorded by a 2013 United Nations Commission of Inquiry, an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 'Christians still professing their religion secretly' despite 'high risks' are in North Korea today," he added.
Park illegally crossed the frozen Tumen River into North Korea on Christmas Day 2009, after which he was arrested and beaten by soldiers under the regime of Kim Jong Il.
He was reportedly sexually tortured and abused in Pyongyang, the nation's capital, but continued preaching the Gospel and even told his abusers "God loves you."
Park was released from North Korea in February 2010, and has been speaking out against the country's various human rights abuses ever since.
His latest statement comes at a time of serious concern over a potential war between the U.S. and North Korea. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that the Trump administration plans to continue pursuing diplomacy "until the first bomb drops."
"I think he does want to be clear with Kim Jong Un and that regime in North Korea that he has military preparations ready to go and he has those military options on the table. And we have spent substantial time actually perfecting those," Tillerson said of Trump.
Park, who noted in the letter that he has been "profoundly wounded and suffered loss on an incalculable and irretrievable scale" as a result of trying to highlight North Korea's abuses, said he "sincerely begs" Trump to do everything possible to make sure that civilians in both North and South Korea are not hurt.
He warned that the prison camps where thousands of Christians are believed to be kept are near weapons of mass destruction facilities and test sites, and if the U.S. military strikes them, many lives will potentially be lost.
"There is a thoroughly workable and peaceable solution to the North Korea crisis. It involves reaching out to the general populace of North Korea in sympathy and supporting their internal unseating of Kim Jong Un — one individual," Park suggested.
"This procedure must be accompanied by the freeing of all political prisoners — who are victims of crimes against humanity and possibly genocide — which can be achieved via the mediation of those North Koreans who assume interim administrative responsibilities in the immediate aftermath of Kim's indigenous and peaceful ouster."
He pointed out that even high-ranking North Koreans "are in actual fact slaves and are suffering gravely also."
"I've been praying through an outpouring of tears and wholeheartedly plead for you and your administration to remember the acute suffering and unparalleled victimization of tens of millions of warm-hearted, gentle and benevolent North Koreans — who deserve compassion and require grace — and to please pursue a peaceable answer with regard to the security quandary," the missionary concluded.
Park told The Christian Post back in December 2010 on the 62nd anniversary of the U.N. Genocide Convention that North Korea's regime believed that he would stop speaking out after they tortured him.
"They never expected that I would speak out against them ever again," he told CP at the time. "God was able to do what is inconceivable for man. He really did a miracle through my life for me to want to rise again ... I never wanted to face this regime again after the things that happened."