In his book Trump Aftershock, best-selling author Stephen E. Strang writes about how Donald Trump addressed the persecution of Christians in North Korea.
North Korean Christians face torture, rape, enslavement and death because of their faith.
“Most Westerners know there isn’t much freedom in North Korea, but most of the attention in recent years has been focused on North Korea’s nuclear capability,” writes Strang who is an advocate for religious liberty, whether in America or abroad.
According to the Christian watchdog group Open Doors USA, North Korean Christians are, if not killed, deported to labor camps as criminals alongside their families.
Open Doors USA president David Curry says, “120,000 Christians have already been confined in prison camps, where conditions remain deplorable … we are prayerfully and cautiously optimistic for our fellow Christians in North Korea.”
Charisma News Director Jessilyn Justice reported that North Korea has crushed Christians under a steamroller, hung them on crosses over fire and herded them off bridges. These atrocities take place because Christians are seen as threats to the Kim family who are idolized by the larger society.
Who’s to blame for this persecution? North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
Strang writes, “The intervention and relief organization Christian Solidarity Worldwide has said that America and its allies cannot afford to shy away from the moral mandate to hold the Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un, responsible for the human rights abuses of his regime.”
Trump Aftershock details how President Trump has exemplified muscular diplomacy in his foreign affairs—his interaction with Kim has been no different. In fact, Trump’s approach was so aggressive that many have feared the repercussions.
“He began calling the young North Korean dictator ‘Little Rocket Man,’ making his critics scream that Trump was risking nuclear war and should be more diplomatic,” Strang says. “Instead of nuclear war, Kim agreed to come to the negotiating table.”
At the conclusion of the meetings in Singapore between Kim and Trump, it became clear that the president was not pushy with the persecution in North Korea. Still, the issue was invoked.
“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,” Trump said, according to a transcript. “It did come up and things will be happening.”
“The implication was that changes would come,” Strang writes, “but the negotiation was still delicate at this early stage to push Kim further.”
Regardless, American evangelicals who were concerned with the plight of North Korean Christians felt encouraged.
Curry says, “President Trump’s decision to address North Korea’s human rights atrocities was diplomatically bold, and we are particularly glad to hear the president say he brought up the plight of the more than 300,000 Christians who face persecution and even death under the regime of Kim Jong-un.”
Franklin Graham, whose concern for North Korea crosses family generations, expresses his gratitude in a Facebook post:
“Thank you, Mr. President, Mike Pompeo, and all of the administration’s advisors for being willing to work for peace. We owe you our support and gratitude in this effort. The Bible tells us to ‘seek peace, and pursue it’ (Psalm 34:14). Millions of people bathed the Singapore meetings in prayer—Americans, North Koreans, South Koreans, people around the world were praying. Let’s ask God to continue to work in the hearts and minds of these leaders.”
J. Lee Grady, author of Set My Heart on Fire (Charisma House, 2016) even predicted that North Korea will open its doors to Christianity, especially after last May when Kim met with South Korean president Moon Jae-in and promised to end the 67-year Korean conflict.
Grady assents that the situation in North Korea is so bleak that it points to the devil—and also to coming miracles.
“The Bible also says Christ overcame Satan’s power through His death and resurrection—and that God’s kingdom will expand wherever the gospel is preached,” Grady says.
Time will tell if the human rights abuses in North Korea will decline. As a Christian author and publisher, Strang prioritizes religious freedom and sees Trump as being just the right leader to navigate the choppy waters of North Korean relations.
“The people of North Korea need and deserve an advocate who is dedicated to the peace process,” says Strang. “If President Trump can accomplish that feat, he will undoubtedly deserve his place in history. But if changes of that magnitude are to happen, it will be through the power of muscular diplomacy supported by the power of faithful and unrelenting prayer.”