Family awaits ailing pastor's return from North Korea

Jerome Frank
Августа 11, 2017

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.

But in 2015 the North Koreans arrested him, charged him with plotting to overthrow the Kim regime, and had him sentenced to life in prison at hard labour.

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 North Koreans set Hyeon Soo Lim free on what they called "sick bail"; he is reportedly on his way home on a Canadian government plane.

Jean's mission to Pyongyang was an exceptional step given the state of diplomatic relations between Canada and North Korea, and the escalating tensions between the North and the United States.

"So far, it has been confirmed that government officials and a doctor are accompanying Reverend Lim", said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to media. He has made over 100 trips to the North since 1997 and helps to run nursing home and orphanages there.

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

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While Lim and his family and friends are just relieved that he is now back in Canada, one can not ignore the timing of his release, as latest developments between North Korea and the United States have been at an all time low and getting extremely tense. "The standing committee collectively acknowledged the need for a stringent state of security in the region due to Pyongyang's recent continual provocations, and urged North Korea to immediately stop taking actions that are raising tensions".

Lim's family had become increasingly anxious about his welfare since the death of American student Otto Warmbier in June, just days after he had been released from a North Korean prison.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomed the news and said, 'The Government of Canada was actively engaged on Mr Lim's case at all levels'.

South Korea, the US 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 had been coerced while in North Korean custody.

Lim's own health was of concern to his family members, who had said the pastor needed medication to manage his blood pressure.

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

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