EU Council expands sanctions against North Korea

Marie Harrington
August 11, 2017

Canada says a delegation is in North Korea to discuss a Canadian pastor imprisoned there.

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.

Lim, a 62-year-old South Korean-born Canadian citizen, was convicted and sentenced in 2015 on charges of trying to use religion to destroy the North Korean system and helping US and South Korean authorities lure and abduct North Korean citizens.

At the time of his arrest, the representative of the presbyterian Church in korea in Light of Toronto was considered one of the most influential christian missionary in North Korea, a country that he had visited dozens of times to work in orphanages and hospitals.

KCNA/Reuters South Korea-born Canadian pastor Hyeon Soo Lim stands during his trial at a North Korean court in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on December 16, 2015.

It's not known what persuaded the North Koreans to do the decent thing in this case and allow Lim to return home to Canada.

The church has taken on numerous humanitarian projects in North Korea, one of which prompted Lim's last trip there in January 2015.

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Family members had urged the Canadian government to put pressure on North Korea to secure Lim's release.

The prime minister also thanked Sweden for its assistance in the matter but said "operational security considerations" prevents the government from discussing the matter further.

Three US citizens remain in custody as relations with Washington have grown increasingly tense.

"There is a long way to go in terms of Reverend Lim's healing, therefore, in the meantime we ask the media for privacy as he reconnects with his loved ones and receives medical attention", they added, and extended their thoughts to those still in the rogue nation.

Lim, who has a wife and son living in the Toronto area, started the Light Korean Presbyterian Church almost three decades ago, shortly after he emigrated from South Korea.

The European Council, which defines the general political direction and priorities of the European Union, has widened its North Korea sanctions of asset freezes and travel bans to cover nine more people and four entities. It's possible they wanted him out before his health deteriorated further and they faced an embarrassing repeat of the case of Otto Warmbier, the American who was so badly treated in North Korea that he died days after being freed.

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

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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