Published: Thu, August 10, 2017
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Canadian officials back in North Korea to discuss imprisoned pastor

Canadian officials back in North Korea to discuss imprisoned pastor

The Rev. Lim Hyeon-soo was released for "humanitarian" reasons a day after a top aide to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived in Pyongyang to discuss his imprisonment, CNN reported.

Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency said on its website Wednesday that Hyeon Soo Lim was released on "sick bail" following a decision by the country's Central Court.

A Canadian government official said Jean was leading the delegation as Trudeau's special envoy, and while his focus was the release of Lim, he would also "discuss other issues of regional concern".

In December, the North's highest court sentenced Lim to life in prison with hard labour, citing his "subversive plots" against the North's regime.

It comes two months after the death of U.S. student Otto Warmbier, who was in a coma at the time of his release from a North Korean prison.

North Korea responded by saying on state media it is considering a strike on the US Pacific territory of Guam.

A plane carrying medical personnel, senior Canadian officials, and a letter to Kim Jong-un were sent to Pyongyang.

His supporters have said he was on a humanitarian mission to North Korea when he was detained. Warmbier, sentenced last year to 15 years' hard labour for trying to steal a propaganda item from his hotel, died in a Cincinnati hospital days after being released in a coma.

The North is still holding three US citizens and at least six South Koreans. The US State Department said last week it would ban US nationals from travelling to the isolated country from September.

He had carried out religious work and helped open an orphanage, and nursing home during one of what his family said was more than 100 visits.

He is the second foreign citizen to be released on what the North Koreans have termed "humanitarian grounds" in 2017, following the release of USA citizen Otto Warmbier in June.

Canada does not have an embassy in North Korea, and has advised against all travel there. In 2016, he told the USA network CNN that he had been digging holes for 8 hours a day.

President Donald Trump warnedTuesday that North Korea's threats will be met with "fire and fury and, frankly, power the likes of which this world has never seen before".

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