“TWR already delivered 3,100 radio’s in recent months and the plan is to increase that number to 3,400 by the end of this year,” said TWR-Netherlands from its headquarters in the Dutch town of Barneveld. “Radio is the only way for North Koreans to hear the Gospel. However receivers sold in the country are only tuned to the state-run network,” TWR added.
TWR said it has set up a transmitter in the region to reach the people of North Korea with Christian programming and encourage underground churches. “Most Christians in North Korea are not able to share their faith with other believers openly, and are forced to worship in secret.”
North Korea’s Stalinist system of carrying out Communism is based on “total devotion” of the individual to an ideology promoted by late leader Kim Il Sung and his successor and son, Kim Jong Il. Christianity is seen as a threat, several Christian and other observers have said.
Christian rights watchers say some one million people, many of them Christians, are believed to be held in concentration camps, where many do not survive. North Korean authorities have denied wrongdoing and say the North Korean people love to serve the country’s “dear leader”.
TWR said it was risky to distribute radio receivers under the current North Korean leadership. “The border between China and North Korea is closely monitored because of the difficult relationship between the two countries. Earlier it was very difficult to reach North Korea because of heavy rains and flooding. In addition there is a night curfew in place for people of up to 40 years old. The government apparently believes that this group can be the easiest influenced by outsiders.”
Despite the difficulties, TWR said it was encouraged by the 19 reactions from listeners it received so far. TWR currently broadcasts Christian programs in 225 languages and dialects around the world, the organization said.