Canadian delegation in North Korea to discuss jailed pastor

Posted August 11, 2017

This April 15, 2017 picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 16, 2017 shows Korean People's ballistic missiles being displayed through Kim Il-Sung square during a military parade in Pyongyang marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung. Ottawa sent a delegation earlier this week to negotiate his release.

Lim is expected to return to Canada later on Thursday, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

The prime minister's spokesman Cameron Ahmad said the government considered Lim's health of "utmost importance" but did not give more details.

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

Lim was sentenced to hard labour for life in December 2015 for what North Korea said was an attempt to overthrow the regime.

Raymond Cho, a member of parliament who knows Pastor Lim said he was relieved at his release.

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. He also runs a smaller church in downtown Toronto that caters to young people.

"Strategically, North Korea perhaps hopes to engender some goodwill from Canada as tensions rise", said Charles Burton, a former Canadian diplomat in China.

'It's not enough, she should be in jail' says Conrad Roy's cousin
Carter texted that she and Roy were on the phone the day of his suicide when Roy "got out of the vehicle . he was scared". Roy's father, Conrad Roy Jr., said his son's death inflicted the "worst emotional pain" he has ever experienced.

North Korea also declared Trump "bereft of reason" while warning "only absolute force can work on him".

The massive rally in Pyongyang came in the wake of the nuclear war rhetoric between the United States and North Korea.

Lim's family had become more concerned for his welfare since the death in June of American student Otto Warmbier, who had been held in North Korea for 17 months. A doctor travelled with the group that went to Pyongyang to tend to concerns that he had dropped down to just 80 pounds and was battling high blood pressure without medication.

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".

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

Neither Ahmad nor Global Affairs responded to request for comment on Lim's release.

The 28-nation European Union has steadily increased asset freezes and travel bans on North Korea over its repeated violation of UN resolutions on its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.