Two South Koreans, Including One Pastor, Arrested and Detained in North Korea

The North Korean government has announced on March 27 that it arrested two South Korean individuals--Kim Kuk Gi and Choe Chun Gil--on charges of espionage on behalf of South Korea's National Intelligence Service.

"They zealously took part in the anti-DPRK smear campaign of the U.S. imperialists and the puppet group of traitors to isolate and blockade the DPRK in [the] international arena by labeling it 'a country printing counterfeit notes' and 'sponsor of terrorism' while pulling it up over its 'human rights issue,'" Korean Central News Agency, North Korea's official news agency, reported.

At the press conference in Pyongyang, at which the North Korean government announced their arrest, the two men admitted to being bribed by South Korea's NIS to spy on the communist government, while the security guards of the North Korean government were standing next to them.

Kim is known to be a missionary who went in to North Korea in 2003 to provide humanitarian aid to the North Korean people.

"Kim Kuk Gi was sent as a missionary ... to Dandong in China in 2003, and since then, he has been operating a 'shelter for refugees,' and has been taking care of refugees, kotjebis, and Korean immigrants living in China. In treating Kim in this way, North Korea is directly violating international customs as well as the basic worth and human rights of people," stated the Presbyterian Church of Korea, a presbyterian denomination in which Kim was involved. 'Kotjebi,' is a term used to refer to refugees who are usually homeless and linger on the border of North Korea and China.

Kim and his wife, Kim Hee-Soon, has also been offering equipment for farming, making tofu, and baking, and other necessities such as an electric generator.

Kim's wife has currently been staying in South Korea to tend to her mother, who has Alzheimer's disease.

A contact from China reported that Kim was contacted by the North Korean government around December of last year, and was requested to come into Pyongyang.

"Please join us in prayer for Pastor Kim's safe return," the Presbyterian Church of Korea stated.

Kim's arrest comes in the midst of ongoing prayer meetings for Pastor Hyeon Soo Lim, a Korean Canadian pastor whose detainment in North Korea was confirmed earlier this month.

Meanwhile, according to Yonhap News Agency, Choe Chun Gil had also been in China since 2003, and said that he was caught and arrested while he tried to enter into North Korea illegally.

Another South Korean missionary is also currently detained by the North Korean government. Kim Jeong Wook was arrested in October 2013, also on charges that he was spying on the North Korean government.