Canadian delegation in Pyongyang seeks pastor's release

Casey Dawson
August 10, 2017

Daniel Jean, National Security Adviser to the Canadian Prime Minister, and his party arrived in Pyongyang, the KCNA reported.

Pastor Lim, 61, had been doing humanitarian work in North Korea since 1997 and had visited the isolated country more than 100 times prior to his arrest, according to his Toronto church, the 3,000-member Light Korean Presbyterian Church.

In March 2015 it emerged that Lim had been arrested, and he was subsequently sentenced to a life sentence of hard labor in December of the same year for numerous charges, including what DPRK authorities claimed was an attempt to overthrow the government.

Mr Lim's release comes two months after the death of a USA college student shortly after he was released from North Korea in a coma.

Since Lim, who formerly led Light Presbyterian Church in Toronto, was detained, the Korean community in numerous locations held multiple prayer gatherings for his release, including in Canada, the USA, and South Korea.

His health soon also began to decline as he complained of stomach pain and high blood pressure.

United Nations imposes tough new sanctions on North Korea
It called for Pyongyang suspending nuclear and missile tests, while Washington stops major joint military exercises in the region. The tests were condemned by South Korea, Japan and the U.S. , and prompted the drafting of the new United Nations sanctions.

There was no clear connection between the release of Hyeon Soo Lim and the heightened rhetoric between Washington and Pyongyang.

Lim's release comes amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula after US President Donald Trump threatened North Korea with "fire and fury" on Tuesday and Pyongyang said it was considering a military strike against the US territory of Guam. The pastor's family asked Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for help in securing Lim's release from the country.

"North Korea is concerned he would die in prison", former Canadian diplomat Charles Burton told Reuters.

Trudeau's spokesman Cameron Ahmad said the government considered Lim's health of "utmost importance" but did not give more details about the delegation.

Doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center assessing Warmbier's condition on his return concluded that the USA citizen had suffered significant brain damage and no signs of botulism were detected. Last year, Lim told CNN he spent eight hours a day digging holes at a labor camp where he had not seen any other prisoners.

However, while carrying out his mission, he was taken into custody in February 2015 and accused of committing hostile acts against the North Korean regime.

Other reports by

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER