In recent months, South Korean Christian missionaries have been expelled at high rates from China due to diplomatic tension between the Communist country and its Asian peninsula neighbor.
The strain has escalated between the two since the beginning of the new year and is directly related to the THAAD missile defense system, an anti-ballistic missile/interceptor kit created by U.S. military almost a decade ago.
The inceptor is claimed to be well-suited to destroy short, medium and intermediate range missiles like the ones shot off by North Korea. However, the Chinese government has been very adamant about South Korea not introducing the system to its country, but to its dismay it has. In response, South Korean officials are warning its citizens – especially missionaries in China – to be careful as Beijing based officials continue to retaliate against the small nation through economic, political and now religious freedom related barriers.
In January, the national foreign ministry of South Korea briefed Christian groups about possible ejections from the country due to the severed relationship between both places.
The South Korean ministry also stressed that Christian groups that continue to stay in China should comply with the laws and customs of the Chinese, Reuters reported at the beginning of this year.
Now the latest statistics and explanations show that missionaries are being targeted.
So far, reportable estimates state that 30-70 missionaries including Americans have been thrown out and roughly 20 percent of the South Koreans kicked out, are people who work predominantly along the China/North Korean border helping North Korean defectors.
Now South Korea is at a standstill, since former President Park Geun-hye is no longer in power and she was responsible for the commissioning of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system with the United States.
Park was impeached after a very public trial and now the new front runners and the people of the country have to decide if they want to move forward with THAAD.
The first parts of the system arrived in the country last week, just days before Parks impeachment trial.
If South Korea does decide to move forward, additional repercussions could possibly occur like the dismissal and arrests of more missionaries without probable cause.
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