North Korea frees ailing Canadian pastor from prison

Randolph Lopez
Августа 11, 2017

The seriousness of Pastor Lim's situation became even more clear after the death of USA student Otto Warmbier earlier this year, after his release from North Korean imprisonment.

Footage from Japan's ANN television showed Lim walking on a tarmac next to Canada's national security adviser, Daniel Jean, at the Yokata Air Base on the outskirts of Tokyo.

"Pastor Lim's health and well-being remain of utmost importance to the Government of Canada, and we are working to ensure that he receives any required medical attention".

Lim, a pastor with the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Mississauga, Ont., had been sentenced by a North Korean court to life in prison with hard labour for what it called crimes against the state.

This April 15, 2017 picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 16, 2017 shows Korean People's ballistic missiles being displayed through Kim Il-Sung square during a military parade in Pyongyang marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung.

The church has taken on numerous humanitarian projects in North Korea, one of which prompted Lim's last trip there in January 2015.

But they were thrilled with the prime minister's statement.

Lim, who has a wife and son living in the Toronto area, started the Light Korean Presbyterian Church almost three decades ago, shortly after he emigrated from South Korea.

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"The Government of Canada was actively engaged on Mr. Lim's case at all levels", said Trudeau.

He had been charged with trying to overthrow the regime but had visited North Korea 100 times since 1997 and was instrumental in setting up an orphanage, nursery and nursing home there.

The European Union on Thursday expanded its North Korean sanctions blacklist as fiery rhetoric between Washington and Pyongyang sent tensions soaring.

Lim's family had become more concerned for his welfare since the death in June of American student Otto Warmbier, who had been held in North Korea for 17 months.

Pak said Lim has "a long way to go in terms of. healing".

Canada recognized the Democratic People's Republic of Korea - North Korea's official name - in 2000.

Canadian Senator Yonah Martin, who advocated for Lim's release, said Lim was hospitalised during his imprisonment.

Ottawa announced the adoption of a Controlled Engagement Policy toward North Korea, which remains in place today.

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