An associate of Jun Yong Su, the Korean-American pastor detained in North Korea since November of last year, says Jun has been heavily beaten during the investigation into his underground church activities.
Im Chang Ho, a professor with Kosin University in Busan and chair of the Defectors’ Church Associate, explained to The Daily NK, “Pastor Jun Yong Su and two other Korean-Chinese were arrested at that time, but the two were expelled after being beaten. According to them, Pastor Jun was beaten so harshly by the North Korean authorities that he cannot stand.”
However, the U.S. administration recently described his current situation more favorably, saying, “He is being treated fairly and the authorities have allowed him to call his family,” and revealing on the 12th that Swedish diplomats have met him six times since March.
Professor Im added that the South Korean missionary organization Jun belongs to has also had problems as a result of his capture, saying, “Due to bringing to light the mission activities of the missionary organization he belongs to, two underground churches have been uncovered; three people have been executed and tens of people arrested, I hear.”
“Jun’s organization issued colored publications in North Korea so as to get funds from the outside world, but these activities have presumably been unveiled,” Professor Im added. “In particular, the authorities found out that this organization has spread widely in the North via many members working independently, and so they are interrogating Pastor Jun.”
“That’s why the North’s authorities did not release Pastor Jun when Jimmy Carter visited,” he went on, “The authorities seem keen to use this opportunity to root out underground churches.”
According to the trip report of former U.S. President Carter’s visit to Pyongyang last month, as posted on the Carter Center website, Carter “submitted our strong written request to the Head of State for the release of Eddie Jun (Yong Su) on humanitarian grounds.” However, Kim Young Nam, the Supreme People’s Committee Permanent Chairperson informed him, “The request for the release of Eddie Jun will not be honored.”
According to Professor Im, the North Korean authorities had already given Jun a warning against conducting his activities, but he ignored it and continued. Therefore, the authorities arrested him and it was then that they found out that the organization’s power had spread quite widely.