Friday, 22 November, 2019

Korea releases jailed Canadian pastor: official media

Kim Jong-un and Malcolm Turnbull Kim Jong-un and Malcolm Turnbull
Christy Curtis | 11 August, 2017, 00:36

According to North Korea's news agency, Lim was released on "sick bail".

The pastor went to North Korea on January 31, 2015 for a humanitarian mission, one of more than 100 trips to the country since 1997, to support an orphanage, nursery and nursing home, his relatives and colleagues have said.

According to the reports, Lim's family had stepped up calls for his release since the death of University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier in June.

The North is still holding three US citizens and at least six South Koreans.

North Korean officials said the pastor's health was not good and he was released on humanitarian grounds.

Canadian stocks may fall Wednesday after tensions between the US and North Korea escalated.

The prime minister's spokesman Cameron Ahmad said the government considered Lim's health of "utmost importance" but did not give more details.

Jean's visit was to discuss Mr. Lim's case, a government official said Tuesday, but the delegation was also to raise "other issues of regional concern".

Three US citizens remain in custody as relations with Washington have grown increasingly tense.

Family spokesperson Lisa Pak said there was "a long way to go in terms of Reverend Lim's healing".

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Thanks are extended to the family of the pastor to "the ambassador Torkel Stiernlöf and the diplomatic staff of the embassy of Sweden for their tireless efforts and their role key to obtain the liberation" of Hyeon Soo Lim.

Lim, who was born in South Korea, had visited the Communist country around 100 times over 20 years to support an orphanage and nursing home his church founded.

He had stolen a propaganda poster from a hotel in 2016.

North Korea is ranked #1 on Open Door USA's World Watch List of countries where Christians face the most persecution.

The source, who wished to remain anonymous, described it as a "special unchartered flight bound for Japan", with which North Korea has no commercial aviation ties.

North Korea has released a Canadian pastor who was convicted of attempting to undermine the regime of Kim Jong Un.

Past year he was digging holes for eight hours a day in a labour camp, but claimed he was the "sole prisoner" when he spoke to CNN.

"We're so happy he's been released, " Baik said from outside the church.

Lim is expected to return to Canada later on Thursday, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American missionary, served two years of detention in the North before being released in November 2014 when then-U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper made a secret trip to Pyongyang to win his release and that of another United States detainee.

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