Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Stay Strong: The Release of My Father, My Friend,

I am deeply concerned about the treatment of my father, my friend, and a good man—who has been detained for decades in a maximum security prison in North Korea—while his health has deteriorated. With the upcoming release of a short film produced by The 82nd Airborne Division (the legendary formation that I was honored to be a member of as a paratrooper), we are reaching out to the North Korean government to ensure that my father, Kim Sang Duk, is immediately freed. My father has been held captive for nearly half a century while unjustly accused of conspiring to overthrow the North Korean government. I, like my family, need him now more than ever.

My father was born in North Korea in 1945 to a Chinese family. He was sent at age twelve to live with his grandparents and relatives, during the Japanese occupation. When the Japanese were driven out in 1945, he continued living there under the protection of a Chinese family member and eventually married into that family. In the 1960s, after being sent to work in North Korea, he was arrested and detained until he was released in 1973. In 2016, as the country celebrates the 70th anniversary of the end of the Korean War, I looked back and realized that he could not have been alive during the period leading up to the war; he was about 14 years old.

Six years ago, my father’s health began to rapidly decline, so I took it upon myself to travel to North Korea to meet with him and visit him at the prison camp in which he is being held. This forced me to relinquish my Senior Leadership Title of Pennsylvania State Senator to let his wife, who did not have access to me, meet with my father and attend the funeral of our friends, Rev. Bong Wie Lee and Rev. Chun Sun Kim. Their families were also fighting to have their fathers released from a political prison for which they have been imprisoned for nearly 50 years. Both our fathers were inspirational Christian leaders who preached about the need for peace, dialogue, and understanding among different peoples. The abduction of these two men marked a watershed moment of desperation in North Korea.

I have been working and speaking publicly about the plight of my father, Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev. Rev

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