Date:              March 8, 2013



North Korea (MNN) ― Following last month's nuclear test, North Korea is spewing new threats of a first-strike nuclear attack because it claims the United States is pushing to start a nuclear war against the country. This fiery rhetoric comes on the heels of the United Nation's approval of sweeping sanctions against the isolated nation.

Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs says, "These sanctions I think do have an effect because they do involve some commercial things and banking things and financial things; yes, they do have an effect. Is it something that's going to really change the direction of North Korea? It's hard to picture that happening."

While the sanctions may be meaningless for real change in North Korea, it does signal some change, says Nettleton. "It shows that China is perhaps losing patience with the North Korean regime. So these sanctions, and the fact that China cooperated with them, may be sending them a message."

Nettleton says Christians continue to face incredible oppression in a nation that's considered the worst place on earth to be a Christian. "Christians are sort of singled out for the worst persecution or the worst situations in North Korea. One of the things I like to tell people is that everyone in North Korea is oppressed, but the Christians are singled out for the very worst oppression."

Nettleton also says, "If they know you're a Christian they've already arrested you. If you're a Christian and the government finds out about it, you are arrested. You're taken to a concentration camp."

About the only thing Christians can do is pray. "Pray for a change in government that treats all of its people better: not only the Christians, but all of the people of North Korea. That's hard to imagine, but obviously we serve a God who can do amazing things."

Voice of the Martyrs is doing everything possible to encourage secret Christians, and they do it in unique ways: "Balloon launches that float over into North Korea and come down. That's a significant way of getting the Gospel message [into North Korea]. Actually, last year we were able to deliver 50,000 New Testaments."

To help support VOM's efforts in North Korea, click here.