Canadian delegation in Pyongyang seeks pastor's release

Canadian delegation in Pyongyang seeks pastor's release

Canadian delegation in Pyongyang seeks pastor's release

"We are relieved to hear that Reverend Lim is on his way home to finally reunite with his family and meet his grand daughter for the first time", Pak said in statement to CNN.

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.

The news was announced after a delegation from the Canadian government went to Pyongyang to discuss Lim's case.

His January 2015 arrest came just a couple months after the release of missionary Kenneth Bae, who faced similar charges as the longest-serving United States prisoner in North Korean history.

While U.S. President Donald Trump was threatening North Korea with "fire and fury" as tensions between the two countries escalated Tuesday night, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau was taking a quieter line with Pyongyang-with great effect.

North Korea also accused Hyeon of trying to overthrow the Kim regime using religion and was eventually sentenced to hard labour for life.

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"His health and wellbeing remain of utmost importance to the government and we are obviously continuing to engage on his case and, given that it is an active case, we can not provide any further comment at this time", the spokesman added.

At least three USA citizens remain in North Korean custody.

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.

Mr Lim has complained of stomach pain and high blood pressure in letters home to Mississauga, Ontario. 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.

North Korea, which zealously tries to shield its citizens from outside influences, has detained several foreign missionaries in recent years, calling them spies or agents of subversive ideas.

"This is a truly joyous occasion", Suzanne Scholte, the chair of the North Korea Freedom Coalition, told the International Christian Concern, a human rights organization focusing on persecuted Christians.

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