N. Korea frees jailed Canadian pastor

Saul Bowman
August 10, 2017

News of the release of 62-year-old Hyeon Soo Lim - also known as Rim Hyon Su -comes just hours after a high-level Canadian delegation, led by the prime minister's national security adviser, had arrived in the country in the hope of intervening in his case. He was sentenced to hard labor for life for committing "crimes against the state". The South Korean-born pastor had been accused of subversive acts against Pyongyang, an allegation which the Canadian authorities strongly denied.

His family said they increased their efforts to get Lim released after Kim's regime freed American university student Otto Warmbier in June.

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.

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

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office did not comment on Wednesday.

North Korea freed a Canadian pastor who had been jailed in the country for two and a half years.

Confusion surrounded a North Korean visit to China on Friday, as media in the South said the North's leader Kim Jong-il had crossed the border, contradicting earlier reports that his son and heir apparent Kim Jong-un had travelled.

Hyeon had visited the isolated nation dozens of times to help set up and work with orphanages and nursing homes.

Pastor Hyeon Soo Lim is seen speaking in Pyongyang, North Korea on July 30, 2015 in the image made from video.

But Lim isn't the only point of concern for Trudeau in dealing with North Korea, whose aim to develop nuclear missiles capable of reaching across the Pacific has Canadians anxious they are in range.

"A nuclear power like North Korea that has shown a level of irresponsibility", he said, pausing for several seconds as he searched for the right words, finally continuing, "fundamental irresponsibility-to not to use a word like insane which I will not use-is a real concern".

He was medically evacuated to the USA on a military plane the following day after serving prison in North Korea for 17 months.

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