Canadian pastor released over health concerns: North Korea

Hyeon Soo Lim a pastor from the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Mississauga Ont. is taken to a sentencing hearing in Pyongyang North Korea in December 2015. He was sentenced to a life sentence of hard labour for subversion

A spokesperson for Trudeau would only confirm that a Canadian delegation is present in the internationally isolated capital.

Lim, a South Korean-born Canadian citizen, had made 100 trips to North Korea where he supports an orphanage, nursing home and nursery before he was arrested in February 2015. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has sent a delegation to Pyongyang to discuss the pastor's release. He was sentenced to hard labor for life for committing "crimes against the state".

After more than two and half years, North Korea has released a Toronto megachurch pastor the regime imprisoned and accused of attempting to establish a religious state.

"Pastor Lim's health and well-being remain of utmost importance to the government of Canada as we continue to engage on this case", Cameron Ahmad, a spokesman for the Prime Minister's Office, told The Canadian Press on Tuesday.

The 62-year-old was in poor health and wrote letters to his friends stating he had stomach pain and high blood pressure. At the time of his arrest, he was called by his kith and kin as one of the most influential Christian missionaries operating in North Korea.

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His church had supported a nursing home, a nursery and an orphanage in North Korea since it began a mission there in 1996, when the country was in the grip of a starvation that killed thousands of people. "In the case of North Korea, God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong Un".

Lim has made more than 100 visits to North Korea since immigrating to Canada from South Korea nearly three decades ago.

Confusion surrounded a North Korean visit to China on Friday, as media in the South said the North's leader Kim Jong-il had crossed the border, contradicting earlier reports that his son and heir apparent Kim Jong-un had travelled.

While Canada has not followed suit, its foreign ministry advises citizens against traveling to the country "due to the uncertain security situation caused by North Korea's nuclear weapons development program and highly repressive regime".

Interviewed past year in Pyongyang by the american news channel CNN, the pastor, the shaved head and gray uniform of a prisoner, was told that his work as a prisoner was to dig holes for planting apple trees in the orchard of his prison.

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