Trudeau confirms pastor's release from North Korea

Posted August 11, 2017

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".

Hyeon Soo Lim, a South Korean-born Canadian citizen in his 60s, was sentenced to life in prison in 2015 on charges of trying to use religion to destroy the North Korean system and helping US and South Korean authorities lure and abduct North Korean citizens.

At the time of his arrest, the representative of the presbyterian Church in korea in Light of Toronto was considered one of the most influential christian missionary in North Korea, a country that he had visited dozens of times to work in orphanages and hospitals.

Pak also thanked Canadian officials who "worked behind the scenes with North Korean authorities" to secure his release, as well as Swedish diplomats who assisted them.

On Wednesday, North Korea's KCNA news agency said he was released on "sick bail".

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

"Operational security considerations prevent us from discussing the matter further", it said. (STAND UP) The Blue House initially said it would not have held an NSC meeting just because of rhetoric but made a decision to convene the standing committee for now to analyze North Korea's military movements and the objective of the regime's threats.

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

Lim's release came amid heightened rhetoric between Washington and Pyongyang but there was no clear connection between the two.

US President Donald Trump earlier this week stunned the world with an apocalyptic warning to unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea.

North Korea has in the past attracted the attention of Washington and visits by high-profile Americans with the detention and release of USA citizens.

However, following North Korea's aggressive actions in 2010, including the sinking of a South Korean warship in a disputed area, led Canada to impose tight restrictions on the relationship.

The European Council, which defines the general political direction and priorities of the European Union, has widened its North Korea sanctions of asset freezes and travel bans to cover nine more people and four entities.

According to Global Affairs Canada, under this policy, Ottawa's official contacts with Pyongyang are limited to subjects concerning only regional security concerns, the human rights and humanitarian situation in North Korea, inter-Korean relations, and consular issues.