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North Korea says it's released imprisoned Canadian pastor

North Korea says it's released imprisoned Canadian pastor

Lim, a Korean-Canadian pastor, has been held in captivity in the North since he entered the country via China on a humanitarian mission in January 2015.

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. "Lim was imprisoned simply because he served the one true God and wanted Him to be known to the North Korean people". The South Korean-born pastor had been accused of subversive acts against Pyongyang, an allegation which the Canadian authorities strongly denied.

Lim's release also comes less than two months after American university student Otto Warmbier died, days after he was released by North Korea.

Since Lim, who formerly led Light Presbyterian Church in Toronto, was detained, the Korean community in numerous locations held multiple prayer gatherings for his release, including in Canada, the US, and South Korea.

"While Pastor Lim's treatment is a reminder of the atrocious and evil nature of the DPRK regime, it should also be a reminder of how vigilant that regime works to keep their population literally and spiritually "in the dark" as the Christian faith is seen as a direct attack on Kim Jong Un, whom they are brainwashed to worship as their god", she said.

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In letters to family, friends, and members of his church in Mississauga, Ontario, Lim has complained of stomach pain and high blood pressure.

His church had supported a nursing home, a nursery and an orphanage in North Korea since it began a mission there in 1996, when the country was in the grip of a starvation that killed thousands of people.

He was medically evacuated to the U.S. on a military plane the following day after serving prison in North Korea for 17 months.

Warmbier was on a sightseeing tour of North Korea when he was detained in early 2016 and later charged with attempting to steal a propaganda poster from his hotel.

On Wednesday, North Korea said it was considering plans for a missile strike on the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, just hours after President Donald Trump told the North that any threat to the United States would be met with "fire and fury".