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A lark that almost changed the world

HONG KONG (SE): It began as a lark, but it could have changed the world, Victor Gaetan wrote in the National Catholic Register on April 28 in telling the story of Maryknoll Father Laurence Murphy who, when walking in New York in 1988 with a Korean-American friend, Yeomin Yoon, just decided to drop into the office of the Permanent Mission to the United Nations (UN) of North Korea, in Father Murphy’s own words, “Just for a lark.”
 

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China arrests Korean pastors

HONG KONG (SE): Two Protestant pastors from South Korea in the northeastern province of Liaoning have been arrested in China and accused of aiding and abetting refugees from North Korea to flee into Chinese territory.

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Priest asks China for mercy on North Korean refugees

SEOUL (SE): Father Philippe Blot, who has spent many years working with North Korean refugees in China, said that conditions have worsened for surviving Christians under the dictatorship of Kim Jong-un and he is urging Beijing to give shelter to fugitives crossing into China from the hermit kingdom.

The National Catholic Reporter said on April 4 that Father Blot, a volunteer with the Paris Foreign Mission Society, describes the situation facing North Korean refugees as becoming ever more dramatic as they flee to China to avoid dying of hunger.

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Ninety years for Pyongyang diocese

SEOUL (UCAN): The 90th anniversary of the foundation of the diocese of Pyongyang in North Korea was marked on March 18 at a Mass celebrated in Seoul’s Myeongdong cathedral in the presence of some 500 people who had lived in the northern city prior to the division of the country by the war that ran from 1950 to 1953.

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Kidnapped to North Korea

SEOUL (UCAN): An American student, David Sneddon, who went missing while hiking in China is believed to still be in North Korea and still alive by Choi Sung-ryong, a Seoul-based representative of the families of people abducted to North Korea.

Choi said he has information on the Sneddon’s whereabouts.

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North Korea sends shock waves across the world

HONG KONG (SE): A statement from the bishops of Japan in commemoration of 70 years since the cessation of the hostilities of World War II released on August 29 this year takes on new meaning in the light of the nuclear test carried out by North Korea on September 9.

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North Korea’s military migrant workers

SEOUL (SE): The government in Pyongyang is using military personnel as contract workers on construction sites in the Middle East run by companies from the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea as a way of avoiding paying their salaries.

Radio Free Asia reported on June 13 that the soldiers are told to grow their hair so that they will look like civilians and not to mention where they have been when they return home.

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South Korea forming priests for the North

SEOUL (UCAN): Two Korean dioceses announced on May 20 that they have entered into a formal agreement to provide formation for priests and seminarians to work in North Korea in the eventuality of a reunification of the north-south Korean divide.

Hamhung, which is theoretically in the north, has signed an agreement with Chunchon diocese to receive some candidates selected from among its seminarians and educate them with the view of working as priests on the northern side of the Demilitarised Zone in the future.

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Pastor to North Koreans axed to death

Seoul (AsiaNews): A Prostestant pastor, Han Chung-ryeol was found dead on April 30 in Changbai, on the Chinese side of a mountain range that marks the border with North Korea. He had wounds from an axe blow to the head and several stab wounds to the abdomen.

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Mass to be celebrated in Pyongyang

SEOUL (AsiaNews): For the first time in many years Mass is to be celebrated on a regular basis in Pyongyang, the People’s Republic of Korea.

An announcement from the bishops of South Korea in Seoul says that priests will be sent on a regular basis to celebrate Mass for major Catholic festivities.

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