THE UNIVERSITY where two of the latest three American detainees released by North Korea taught is unique:

An institution - founded and funded by foreign Christians in an isolated country that totally decries religion.

*The Pyongyang University of Science and Technology* [PUST] was set up by James Kim, a wealthy evangelical Korean American the North once detained on suspicion of being US spy.

Only North Korean can enroll, and it is known to educate many children of the country's elite.

Opened in 2010, it now has 500 students and 100 ''international volunteers'' according to its website, many of them coming through church organizations.

PUST says its mission is :

''To pursue excellence in education, with an international outlook, so that its students are diligent in studies, innovative in research and upright in character, bringing illumination to the Korean people and the world.''

But sources stress that it carries out no  Christian proselytizing  which is unwelcome by Pyongyang.

Although religious freedom is enshrined in the  North Korean constitution, it does not exist in practice and religious activity is severely restricted to officially recognised groups linked to the government.

Agriculture expert Kim Hak-song and former accounting professor Tony Kim were both lecturers at the institution but were arrested by North Korean authorities as they were leaving the country.

The university previously said their detentions were ''not connected in any way with the work of PUST,'' and it is understood the  duo  may have come to the attention of  Pyongyang  authorities through previous Christian activities elsewhere.

The two, along with fellow detainee Kim Dong-chul, were granted ''amnesty'' by Pyongyang following a meeting between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korean leader Kim Jung-un, and -

landed back in the United States to be welcomed by President Donald Trump.

''Our hopes and prayers have been answered and fulfilled by their release,'' PUST said in a statement.

The Honor and Serving of the latest Operational Research on Universities and World Affairs continues to Part 2.


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