Wednesday, 18 October, 2017

N.Korea Releases Korean-Canadian Missionary

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Lance Thomas | 11 August, 2017, 00:10

U.S. President Donald Trump's warning about unleashing "fire and fury" on the authoritarian regime spurred North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to threaten a missile strike on Guam, a U.S. territory in the Pacific.

"The Government of Canada was actively engaged on Mr. Lim's case at all levels". His family also sent the 62-year-old blood pressure medication. But when word spread that Lim had finally been released on Wednesday, many met the news with disbelief.

"Rim Hyon Su (Hyeon Soo Lim), a Canadian civilian, was released on sick bail according to the decision of the Central Court of DPRK on August 9, 2017 from a humanitarian viewpoint", said the KCNA.

His release comes two months after American college student Otto Warmbier was freed from North Korea, but died shortly after. The circumstances of his death remain unclear.

There is, however, still no timeline for when Lim will be returned to Canada.

Lim is expected to return to Canada later on Thursday and will be hospitalised on arrival at his wife's request, a source familiar with the matter said.

Three US citizens remain in custody as relations with Washington have grown increasingly tense. The U.S. State Department said last week it would ban U.S. nationals from travelling to the isolated country, beginning in September.

Let's wish Pastor Lim well on his road to recovery from his ordeal. "We're thankful for the Canadian government's work".

Since being imprisoned, Lim's health was reportedly failing.

Members of Light Korean held a daily prayer campaign for his protection and release. In an interview with the network in 2016, he said he prayed daily and was the sole prisoner in his camp, where he was forced to dig holes eight hours a day, six days a week.

"How could it not?"

Update (8:08 a.m. ET): Relatives of a Canadian pastor released this week after more than two years in a North Korean prison say he is "on his way home" and they are anxious to be reunited with him.

That delegation was pivotal towards securing Lim's release, Ontario MPP Raymond Cho said.

"All these things add together..."

Since 2009, over 10 USA citizens have been detained in North Korea on charges of anti-state acts and other unspecified crimes.

"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. He has made over 100 trips to the North since 1997 and helps to run nursing home and orphanages there. He was working on a humanitarian mission for the Korean Presbyterian Church of Toronto at the time.

"I admit I've violated this government's authority, system and order", Lim said in the interview. North Korean officials also said the pastor allegedly confessed to helping people escape from the country.

"Strategically, North Korea perhaps hopes to engender some goodwill from Canada as tensions rise", said Charles Burton, a former Canadian diplomat in China.

"Serious diplomacy is about solving problems, trying to understand people you may not know very well and may not even like".

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