European Council widens sanctions against North Korea

Kristopher Drake
August 11, 2017

But in 2015 the North Koreans arrested him, charged him with plotting to overthrow the Kim regime, and had him sentenced to life in prison at hard labour.

Officials in the Prime Minister's Office did not confirm any further details about Lim's release or when exactly he is expected to be back on Canadian soil.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

Pastor Lim's church, which is around 3,000 strong, has supported various missions to North Korea.

Mark Blinch / Reuters A man puts his hand on a Korean Bible during a prayer service for Reverend Hyeon Soo Lim, inside a chapel at the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Mississauga, March 9, 2015.

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

Their calls for action took on fresh urgency in June following the death of Otto Warmbier, an American student who lived only one week after being released from North Korean custody due to health concerns.

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.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also confirmed that Hyeon Soo Lim has been released and will soon be reunited with his family. He is known to need medication to manage high blood pressure and was reportedly in poor health during his time in North Korea.

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

North Korea is still holding three Americans.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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