A South Korean pastor with a panel of researchers released findings on the North’s infiltration tunnel system at a luncheon in Washington D.C., Friday.
"One underground tunnel is more powerful than ten nuclear bombs," declared Pastor Kim Han-Sik, at a Defense Forum Foundation luncheon. Around 80 people were present including U.S. congressman and reporters.
The North Korean military has constructed an unconfirmed number of tunnels, including one leading to the South’s capital of Seoul, reported the pastor. Kim also cited speculation that some of the tunnels reached as far as the rearward U.S. bases in South Korea.
According to the human rights activist, the North Korea’s action may worsen the already tense North-South relation.
"They say that 10,000 troops can be moved per hour through the underground tunnel. There are 24 major tunnels from North Korea to South Korea," Kim maintained. "They say that in three hours South Korea will become North Korea."
Kim expressed doubts that the North would use nuclear bombs because of its plans to occupy South Korea. Instead, he says, it is more likely North Korea will send infiltrators to attack military weak-points throughout the southern peninsula.
North Korea declared last year that it has the world’s largest Special Forces pool, which analysts say are devoted to infiltration into the South. The North currently maintains the fourth-largest army in the world, despite food shortages that have starved thousands.
To date, North Korean retains its "Most Repressive Nation in the World" status, and has remained a concern to human rights activists and Christian persecution monitors worldwide. A report released by Freedom House, an independent organization, earlier this year, awarded the lowest human rights rating to the Stalinist regime.
Open Doors, a Christian persecution watchdog of 50 years, has kept North Korea number one in its list of Christian persecutors for four consecutive years. It is estimated that hundreds of Christians were imprisoned or executed in the country’s notorious prison camps.
Pyongyang, the North’s capital, was once dubbed "the Jerusalem of the East" before communist control drove thousands of Christians to flee to the South. According to a report released by human rights monitor, Forum 18, the few remaining churches are staffed by actors for the benefit of foreign visitors.
"We all work for human rights in North Korea," Kim added to his statement. "…as long as Kim Jung Il is in power there will be no permanent solution of human rights in North Korea."
"To solve all problems, Kim Jung Il’s regime has to collapse and the tunnels can be a means to topple the regime," says Kim.
The pastor asked the U.S. to consider participating in his efforts to further expose North Korea’s tunneling activities.
"I appeal to you Americans, the underground tunnel that is near the U.S. bases, dig them up and see for yourself and show it to the world," Kim urged. "Let’s dig it up and show the real pictures to the world. The whole world will realize in an instant the true nature of the North Korea regime."