Christians in South Korea—like most of the population—reacted with shock but no fear to two Communist-planned hammer blows last month. The first provocation was infiltration of thirty-one guerrillas bent on assassinating President Chung Hee Park. Two days later, North Korea seized the U. S. surveillance ship “Pueblo.”
The United States said the ship was cruising in international waters, and the world waited anxiously to see whether a second front would open in the Asian war.
In the guerrilla attack, nighttime gunfire and grenades broke the silence on the streets of South Korea’s capital, Seoul. The first hero of the incident was Police Chief Choi, a Roman Catholic, who halted the raiders a half-mile from the president’s house. As he gave a warning, he was shot fatally in the stomach. He was later given a huge Catholic funeral in the municipal auditorium with a public procession of government officials.
Police swarmed through the Mormon mission headquarters near the capitol in pursuit of the fleeing Communist commandos. Tension mounted as the Army joined the chase, and the watchman at the Presbyterian seminary on the outskirts of Seoul took the precaution of arming himself with a shotgun. Eventually five of the infiltrators were killed and one was taken alive.
The subsequent seizure of the “Pueblo” added to the shock, but there was no panic in Korea. The 750 Protestant missionaries prudently planned what to include in their sixty pounds of standard evacuation baggage—just in case—but continued their normal routine.
As public confidence and calm returned, the South Koreans asked, “Why is the world so surprised? We know the Communists; this is how they act.”
A surge of hope arose that the new incidents would break the paralyzing ...1
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