Released from North Korea, the pastor is en route to Canada

Posted August 11, 2017

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.

Canada has no diplomatic representation in Pyongyang and Sweden acts as its "protecting power" when it comes to consular issues affecting Canadians in North Korea.

Pak also thanked Canadian officials who "worked behind the scenes with North Korean authorities" to secure his release, as well as Swedish diplomats who assisted them.

In accordance with the United Nations resolution, the EU Council said in a statement released Thursday that it had added a further nine individuals, including the state-owned Foreign Trade Bank (FTB) to its sanctions list, taking the total number of blacklisted individuals to 103, plus 57 entities.

The decision to release pastor Lim comes just hours after a high-level Canadian delegation, led by the prime minister's national security adviser, had arrived in the country in the hope of intervening in his case, as Christian Today reported yesterday.

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

But according to North Korean state news media KCNA, the regime announced Lim is being released this week on compassionate grounds, aka "sick bail", due to his weakening health, according to Lim's son, James Lim.

The European Union on Thursday expanded its North Korean sanctions blacklist as fiery rhetoric between Washington and Pyongyang sent tensions soaring.

"Operational security considerations prevent us from discussing the matter further".

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

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

The North responded on Wednesday with its own threats, saying that it had been drawing up plans for a missile strike against the Pacific island of Guam, which is home to US military bases, strategic bombers and about 163,000 people. He is of South Korean origin.

An Ontario church congregation is celebrating news of the release of their pastor from a North Korean prison more than two years after he was arrested in the country.

"All government-to-government cooperation and communication on topics not covered under the Controlled Engagement Policy has been suspended", Global Affairs says on its website.