Asia Pacific

Canadian officials in North Korea to discuss imprisoned pastor

Reuters

Canadian officials have traveled to North Korea to discuss the case of a Canadian pastor serving a life sentence there, a spokesman for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday.

Hyeon Soo Lim, who served at one of the largest churches in Canada, was sentenced to hard labor for life in December 2015 for what North Korea says was an attempt to overthrow the regime.

The delegation is headed by Daniel Jean, Trudeau’s national security adviser.

“A Canadian government delegation is currently in Pyongyang to discuss Pastor Lim’s case,” said Trudeau’s press secretary, Cameron Ahmad. “His health and well-being remain of utmost importance to the government, and we are obviously continuing to engage on his case. And, given that it is an active case, we cannot provide any further comment at this time.”

Lim’s family has become more concerned for his welfare since the June death of American student Otto Warmbier, who had been held in North Korea for 17 months. Warmbier died in a Cincinnati hospital just days after he was released in a coma. Canadian officials visited Lim in December 2016.

In addition to Lim, North Korea is holding three Americans.

Lim’s Toronto-area church has said Lim visited North Korea more than 100 times since 1997 and helped set up an orphanage and nursing home.

Last year, Lim told CNN he spends eight hours a day digging holes at a labor camp where he has not seen any other prisoners.

The U.N. Security Council imposed new sanctions on North Korea last weekend over its continued missile tests, and U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned the country would be met with “fire and fury” if it threatens the United Sates.

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