- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 27, 2009

SEOUL | An American Christian missionary slipped into North Korea on Christmas Day, shouting that he brought God’s love and carrying a letter urging leader Kim Jong-il to step down and free all political prisoners, an activist said Saturday.

Robert Park, 28, crossed a poorly guarded stretch of the frozen Tumen River that separates North Korea from China, according to a member of the Seoul-based group Pax Koreana, which promotes human rights in the North. Two other activists apparently watched and filmed the entry.

“I am an American citizen. I brought God’s love. God loves you and God bless you,” Mr. Park reportedly said in fluent Korean as he crossed over Friday near the northeastern city of Hoeryong, according to the activist, citing the two who witnessed the scene. He spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

No information emerged immediately about what happened next to Mr. Park, who is of Korean descent. The communist country’s state-run media was silent. The State Department and the U.S. Embassy in Beijing said they were aware of the incident but had no details.

Mr. Park, from Tucson, Ariz., carried a letter to Mr. Kim calling for major changes to his totalitarian regime, according to the activist from Pax Koreana.

“Please open your borders so that we may bring food, provisions, medicine, necessities and assistance to those who are struggling to survive,” said the letter, according to a copy posted on the conservative group’s Web site. “Please close down all concentration camps and release all political prisoners today.”

North Korea holds some 154,000 political prisoners in six large camps across the country, according South Korean government estimates.

The activist said Mr. Park does not belonging to Pax Koreana. In Mr. Park’s letter, the activist said he called for Mr. Kim to step down immediately.

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