North Korea confirmed Tuesday that it is holding Robert Park, a Korean American missonary who illegally entered North Korea on Christmas Eve.
According to the state-run Korea Central News Agency 28-year-old Park is "now under investigation by a relevant organ."
Park's uncle was encouraged by the news.
"My fear was that they say they don't know anything about it and may get rid of him secretly," he told The Associated Press in California. "Once they recognize it, that's really good."
Park's Pastor: He Knew What He was Doing
Meanwhile, Park's pastor, John Benson, says the missionary knew what he was doing when he illegally entered the country.
Park told associates he wanted to bring attention to plight of persecuted Christians in the communist country.
Benson commented, "Drastic situations call for drastic measures."
In a Dec. 23 e-mail to his parents Park wrote, "Know that I am the happiest in all my life. Incredible miracles are happening in the liberation of North Koreans right now ... We are going to see a big and beautiful change in Korea and in the World this year!"
Benson, pastor of Life in Christ Community Church in Tucson, Ariz. said Park was acting out of "unconditional love" like a "modern-day John the Baptist."