Canadian delegation in Pyongyang seeks pastor’s release

Ottawa, Aug 9 (IANS) A high-ranking Canadian official is in Pyongyang to negotiate the release of an imprisoned Canadian pastor, the media reported on Wednesday.

An official on Tuesday said Daniel Jean, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s national security and intelligence adviser, was in the capital city of North Korea to discuss the case of Toronto Presbyterian pastor Hyeon Soo Lim, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Obviously, Pastor Lim’s health and well-being remain of utmost importance to Canada as we continue to engage on this case,” said Cameron Ahmad, media relations manager for the Prime Minister’s Office.

Lim has been suffering from high blood pressure and stomach pains, according to letters to his friends. His family has urged the Canadian Prime Minister to save his life.

The 62-year-old Canadian Korean pastor was arrested in 2015 and charged with harming the dignity of the supreme leadership and trying to use religion to destroy the North Korean system.

A Canadian government official said Jean was leading the delegation as Trudeau’s special envoy, and while his focus was the release of Lim, he would also “discuss other issues of regional concern”.

The Canadian delegation arrived on the same day US President Donald Trump warned that Pyongyang would be met “with fire and fury and, frankly, power the likes of which the world has never seen before”, if it does not stop threatening the US.

The official said the timing of the delegation’s visit was based on the condition of Lim, and not related to the increasing world pressure associated with Pyongyang’s missile tests and last weekend’s imposition of further sanctions by the UN.

–IANS

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