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N. Korea blasts Kenneth Bae's criticism of its ruling ideology

All News 13:37 June 06, 2016

SEOUL, June 6 (Yonhap) -- North Korean on Monday blasted a former Korean-American detainee who spent two years in its prison for criticizing the country's ruling ideology.

The state-run Internet propaganda site Meari said Bae's speeches made at his recent book release events in South Korea and the United States defamed the country by calling the juche idea and Kim Il Sungism the pillars that support the repressive regime in power.

Both juche or self-reliance, and Kim Il Sungism, named after the founder of the country, are a distorted and unique brand of socialism mixed with personal cult worship, that forces people to obey without question the direction of the reclusive state.

The former detainee then said the North is a vast prison and that he will continue to help people escape the country.

"While I lived there and watched the people closely, I realized we should separate ordinary North Koreans from the regime," he said during a press event in a church in central Seoul early this month. He made the comment to mark the release of the Korean version of his evangelical memoir "Not Forgotten." The English version was published early last month by Thomas Nelson.

"Bae is nothing more than a criminal who tried to subvert the DPRK," Meari claimed. It said there is no punishment befitting such a heinous act. The DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the North's official name.

The website then went on to explain that while Bae was incarcerated for his crime, he was given fair treatment and was released much earlier than his original sentence.

The missionary who operated guided tours to North Korea from China was arrested on Nov. 3, 2012, on the first day of his 18th visit to the country, for allegedly trying to overthrow it.

In April 2013, he was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor and remained behind bars until he was released on Nov. 9, 2014, 735 days into his captivity.

yonngong@yna.co.kr
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