Canadian pastor released by North Korea returns home

Ross Houston
August 13, 2017

Toronto Pastor Hyeon Soo Lim has landed back in Canada Saturday, after being freed from a labour camp in North Korea earlier this week.

There's no word yet on when exactly Lim arrives in Canada.

Lim said his father was resting at home and looked forward to going to his church's Sunday service and meeting with the community after so long.

"Canada has been actively engaged on Mr. Lim's case at all levels, and we will continue to support him and his family now that he has returned", the statement said.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed Thursday that Hyeon Soo Lim has been released and will soon be reunited with his family.

Lim is a pastor with the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Mississauga.

South Korea, the United States and others often accuse North Korea of using foreign detainees to wrest diplomatic concessions, and foreigners have said after their release that their declarations of guilt were coerced while in North Korean custody.

Lim (62) was imprisoned in North Korea in 2015.

It is thanks to the diplomatic efforts of the federal government and the Sweden he was released.

The release comes at a time of swirling worldwide tension in Pyongyang, Steven Denney, a doctoral fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs' Asian Institute, has said it is possible that Mr. Lim's release was intended as a goodwill message, to try to portray itself as a country capable of reasonable negotiation.

He added that getting the pastor home took on increased urgency in June, following the death of Otto Warmbier, an American student who died days after being released from a North Koreanprison in a coma. They declined to provide details on negotiations with the North Koreans.

"He is doing very well, considering everything he has gone through", he said.

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