U.S. Missionary Likely Arrested in North Korea

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An American missionary is believed to have been detained in North Korea, according to human rights activists in Seoul, South Korea.

Robert Park is a Korean American who reportedly entered North Korea illegally on Friday. An activist aquainted with 28-year-old missionary is speculating that Robert was arrested by North Korea border guards or police.

"We haven't heard anything about him since he went there," said the activist, a member of the Seoul-based group Pax Koreana, which promotes human rights in the North. "But it's North Korea. We presume he has been arrested there."

About 25 members of Robert's church in Tucson, Ariz. gathered to pray for his safety over the weekend.

"We have to just patiently wait," Robert's father, Pyong Park told the San Diego Union Tribune. "Wait and see and hope for the best."

Robert last communicated with his parents on Dec. 23 in an e-mail.

"Know that I am the happiest in all my life," his e-mail read. "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!"

Park is carrying a letter calling on North Korean leader Kim Jong Il to release all political prisoners.

He told associates that he hopes to bring attention to the plight of persecuted Christians in North Korea. At least one South Korean ministry to the north tried to persuade him not to go.

North Korea has yet to acknowledge Robert's entry into the communist nation.

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department is aware of the incident and says it is monitoring the situation.

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