While it is difficult to confirm the veracity of news coming out of North Korea, Japan’s Asahi TV reported that some 200 people may be dead after a series of underground tunnels at a nuclear test facility in the hermit kingdom appeared to have collapsed. The tragedy seemingly happened on October 10 at the Punggye-ri test site, while workers were doing construction on the tunnel system. As the Washington Post reported, the area was believed to be destabilized during the country’s sixth nuclear test on September 3.
Analysts observed that Mount Mantap, the 7,200-foot-high peak under which North Korea detonates its nuclear bombs, appeared to be suffering from “tired mountain syndrome” because the mountain had actually shifted during the powerful nuclear test that caused a 6.3-magnitude earthquake in the northeast part of the country. In the aftermath of the detonation, the area, which is not prone to natural seismic activity, has experienced three more quakes.
“What we are seeing from North Korea looks like some kind of stress in the ground,” Paul G. Richards, a seismologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, told the Post. “In that part of the world, there were stresses in the ground, but the explosions have shaken them up.”
According to Fox News, no officials have confirmed the Japanese TV station’s claims, but it is believed 100 people were crushed in the initial cave-in and another 100 died when the tunnels again gave way on top of rescuers.
This tragic incident at the hands of deadly work conditions in North Korea is one of countless examples of hard labor and persecution—especially of Christians—Faithwire has covered. It is widely understood that there is virtually no such thing as religious freedom in the country, and a report released over the summer shed light on just how dire the situation is for Christians living in the hermit kingdom.
In a 15-page document titled Total Denial: Violations of Freedom of Religion or Belief in North Korea, British-based human rights advocacy organization Christian Solidarity Worldwide offers troubling details on how Kim Jong-Un’s regime tortures, mutilates, and kills Christians.
Additionally, the 2017 World Watch List compiled by Open Doors lists North Korea as the “most oppressive place in the world for Christians” due to the country’s totalitarian regime and surveillance state that forces Christians “to hide their faith completely from government authorities, neighbors, and often, even their own spouses and children.” Many attempt to find freedom in South Korea or China, but those who are discovered are subject to imprisonment, labor camps, and, in extreme cases, death.
As Kim Jong-Un and his cronies continue to threaten nuclear action against the United States, President Donald Trump and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley have been strong in their condemnation of the North Korean regime.
“To the members of the Security Council I must say: enough is enough,” Haley proclaimed during an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting assembled to deal with the North Korean threat in September. “We have taken an incremental approach and, despite the best of intentions, it has not worked.”
“We have kicked the can down the road long enough,” she concluded. “There is no more road left.”
(H/T: Fox News)