However, 54-year-old Kim, a professor of North Korean Studies and South Korean Non-Censorship, said that the pastor may have misunderstood the nature of society in the North, “In a communist system the leader of the regime is the absolute ruler – saying that there’s a higher power – God in this case – tends to undermine their authoritarian rule, so often Christians and other religious followers are imprisoned or executed.” In fact North Korea does have a history of imprisoning, torturing and executing religious followers. Despite this, many Christians in the South support reunification and are generally sympathetic to the North, despite the North’s intention to send them all to labor camps should they ever invade the South.
It’s not clear if the Pastor Kim had been hoping to convert the Kim Jong-Il, who has been nearly dead for almost three years now, and might be having second thoughts about the prospect of eternal nothingness. But it’s unlikely that a deathbed conversion would take place says Professor Kim: “The Northern regime has spent decades portraying Kim Jong-Il as the North’s living god, so it’s unlikely that he’d be able to say that actually, after all, there's a greater god out there.”
Before his execution, Pastor Kim toured state factories and met with important officials in the regime, praising the North and criticizing his persecution in the South. His church has sent two junior members to the North to escort the body back home.
S.Korean Pastor Faces Arrest on Return from North