Published: Mon, August 14, 2017
World | By Carl Welch

Pastor freed from North Korea arrives back in Canada

Pastor freed from North Korea arrives back in Canada

A Canadian pastor recently freed from imprisonment in North Korea spoke Sunday of the "overwhelming loneliness" and harsh conditions he experienced during his two-and-a-half years in a labor camp. His granddaughter, who was born while he was away, perched on his knees. He was expected to arrive in Canada on Friday or Saturday.

He had been serving a life sentence since 2015 for alleged anti-state activities.

"In a statement, the pastor Lim has spoken of the hard conditions on the first day of his detention until my release where I took all my meals alone and it was hard to see how and when this whole ordeal will end".

He told the congregation: "From the first day of my detainment to the day I was released, I ate 2,757 meals in isolation by myself". The ground was frozen. My upper body was sweating, my fingers and toes were frostbitten.

The Canadian pastor was punished after he was accused of "defaming the supreme leadership, using religion to disrupt the country's system, helping American and South Korean to abduct North Korean citizens and spreading negative propaganda about the country overseas".

"We are grateful to all parties involved; Prime Minister Trudeau, Minister [Chrystia] Freeland, and all the public servants in Global Affairs who have worked behind the scenes with North Korean authorities to bring Reverend Lim home", Ms. Pak said in a statement Thursday.

That could be an area of productive conversations with the United States, given the USA administration's focus on making it easier to do business, Freeland said.

He had visited the country dozens of times, working with orphanages and nursing homes.

But some of the projects in which he participated, including a pasta factory and mills, were linked to associates of Jang Song-Thaek, uncle of Kim Jong-un arrested and executed for treason in December 2013.

U.S. President Donald Trump set a confrontational tone Tuesday, when he said the United States would respond to North Korean threats "with fire and fury the world has never seen".

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