According to a government spokesman, Canada has sent national security advisor Daniel Jean to North Korea to discuss freeing a jailed Canadian pastor.
North Korean officials arrested Hyeon Soo Lim, 61, in 2015 for allegedly meddling in North Korea state affairs, accusing him acting subversively against Pyongyang. He was sentenced to life in prison.
“A Canadian government delegation is currently in Pyongyang, DPRK, to discuss Pastor Lim’s case,” Trudeau spokesman Cameron Ahmad said.
“Pastor Lim’s health and well-being remain of utmost importance to the government of Canada as we continue to engage on this case,” he continued. “As this is an active case, we will not provide further comment at this time.”
Since the death of Otto Warmbier, an American student who was released from North Korean detainment with fatal injuries, Lim’s family has become increasingly worried about the pastor’s health.
Canadian authorities and ethnic Korean missionaries from Canada and the U.S. have denied the charges against Lim, calling him one of the most influential Christian missionaries who has worked in North Korea.
Before his arrest, Lim had visited North Korea numerous times, working in orphanages and nursing homes. However, some of his projects, such as a noodle plant and flour mills, were connected to associates of Kim Jong-un’s uncle, Jang Song-Thaek, who was arrested and executed for treason in Dec. 2013.
In an interview with CNN last year, Lim stated that he now spends his days in prison digging holes.
Lim is not the only missionary that has been persecuted in North Korea. While the country allows some foreign missionaries to come and do humanitarian work, it overall is very suspicious of outsiders.
Many Christian missionaries, mostly ethnic Koreans who are U.S. citizens, have been arrested in the country, released only after intervention by prominent U.S. political figures.
Featured image via Wikipedia