Canadian delegation in North Korea to discuss jailed pastor

Lim Hyeon-soo was released on "sick bail" Wednesday with the North Korean Central Court citing "humanitarian reasons", according to the Korean Central News Agency.

North Korea has freed a Canadian pastor that was sentenced in 2015 to hard labor for life on allegations that he attempted to overthrow the government.

Lim was released Wednesday, when the same court chose to free him on sick bail, the North's official Korean Central News Agency said.

Lim pastored the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Toronto.

In June of this year, USA university student Otto Warmbier was released from North Korea in a comatose state and died shortly after his return to the U.S.

This release, helped by the Swedish diplomat, has been obtained at the time when tensions are intensifying between the Pyongyang regime and the United States, of which three citizens are still prisoners in North Korea. She thanked people for their prayers and support and asked that the world "not forget the people of North Korea".

Trudeau said 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".

The source who shared the photo, and who wished to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of speaking to media from North Korea, described it as a "special unchartered flight going to Japan".

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The U.N. Security Council on Saturday adopted Resolution 2371 to toughen sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile development programs. The 62-year-old's health has deteriorated while in North Korean custody and the pastor has experienced "dramatic" weight loss, Pak said.

Lim, who has a wife and son in the Toronto area, formed the Light Korean Presbyterian Church almost 30 years ago, soon after emigrating to Canada from South Korea.

A statement from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office on Thursday said that Lim had been freed and "will soon be reunited with his family and friends". In December of that year, Lim was put on trial and sentenced to indefinite hard labor. Concern over his fate increased after North Korea released an American student in a coma in June.

Since then, the US announced a travel ban for Americans visiting North Korea with the exception of humanitarian workers and journalists.

"I hope I can go home someday", Lim said.

It quoted the person who took the photograph as saying that the flight, which had no number, was carrying Lim, who was released on Wednesday by North Korea on humanitarian grounds.

Mr. Cho said North Korea could be trying to "save face" in the worldwide community by releasing Mr. Lim.

  • Sonia Alvarado