North Korea Sets Canadian Pastor Free


North Korea said Wednesday it has released a Canadian pastor who was convicted of subversion in 2015 and sentenced to life imprisonment at hard labor.

Emergency "sick bail" was granted to Hyeon Soo Lim who was released from his hard labour sentence on Wednesday, state-run news agency KCNA said.

A court ordered Mr Lim's release "from the humanitarian viewpoint", it said in a brief two-paragraph report.

The pastor was arrested in 2015 and accused of acts subversive against the north Korean regime, what the canadian authorities have always strongly denied.

The release of Lim comes about two months after North Korea released US citizen Otto Warmbier in a coma, who died shortly afterward.

He is the second foreign citizen to be released on what the North Koreans have termed "humanitarian grounds" in 2017, following the release of USA citizen Otto Warmbier in June.

"A Canadian government delegation is now in Pyongyang to discuss Pastor Lim's case", Trudeau's press secretary Cameron Ahmad said.

In letters to his family, the South Korean-born pastor complained of stomach pains and high blood pressure.

ASEAN, China adopt framework for South China Sea code of conduct
Its sweeping claims overlap with those of ASEAN members Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei, as well as Taiwan. When asked on their position regarding the code being legally binding, Wang said he would leave it up to the ministers.

Lim, the senior pastor of the Light Presbyterian Church in Mississauga, had made frequent humanitarian visits to North Korea on behalf of his church.

"A Canadian government delegation is now in Pyongyang, DPRK, to discuss Pastor Lim's case", AFP news agency cited Trudeau spokesman Cameron Ahmad as saying, referring to North Korea's official name.

According to his family, Lim had been to North Korea more than 100 times.

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

Tensions between North Korea and the US are on the rise, as North Korea has threatened to take punitive action against the response to new sanctions, as well as other perceived provocations.

In a January 2016 interview with CNN in Pyongyang - his first conversation with foreign media - the Canadian said he was the sole prisoner in a labor camp, digging holes for eight hours a day, six days a week.

President Donald Trump has responded to recent threats from North Korea by pledging "fire and fury like the world has never seen" if they continue.

In response the United Nations approved further economic sanctions on North Korea on Saturday in an attempt to pressurise Kim Jong-un to give up his nuclear weapons.