Beijing, China – Chinese authorities have arrested a man who, on Christmas day, helped US missionary Robert Park cross illegally into North Korea. Radio Free North Korea reported that he was detained last Friday in Yanji, Jilin province. He is identified only by the surname Kim, and is said to have guided Park to the border and took video footage of him praying on the frozen river before crossing.
"Kim appeared to have been detained last week in Yanji," said Cho Sung-rae, one of Park's fellow activists in Seoul, confirming the radio report.
Cho said Kim and another companion of Park's tried to sell the video to media organisations for 100 million won (just over US$ 88,000). "I heard through sources in China that the video clip is safe and being kept by one of Kim's colleagues," Cho said in reference to Robert Park’s fate (pictured).
The North has confirmed it is investigating an American detained for illegal entry from China. “Park is now in Pyongyang, and I believe there will be talks probably next week between North Korean officials and Swedish diplomats over his fate," Cho said, citing sources in the North for his information.
Park, 28, entered North Korea illegally on Christmas day to ask Kim Jong-il and other North Korean leaders to repent for their sins and free North Koreans from slavery.
Park, who is Christian, heads an international organisation involved in human rights in Korea. Before the entered the country, he said he did not want a US intervention and that he intended to remain in the North as long as prisons existed.