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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Canadian Pastor Being Held in North Korea

A Canadian pastor from Mississauga, Ont. has been captured while on a humanitarian trip to North Korea.

Rev. Hyeon Soo Lim went missing in February and is now being held in North Korea, his family says.

A spokesperson for the Minister of State (Foreign Affairs and Consular) says the government is aware of a Canadian who is being detained in North Korea.

Hyeon Soo Lim in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, 2007
“Consular officials are in contact with family members and are providing assistance to them,” spokesperson Erica Meekes told CTV News in an email statement.

Lim travelled to North Korea from China earlier this year with a companion from his church in Mississauga.

The Light Korean Presbyterian Church says Lim was slated to return home from a “routine” trip to North Korea on Feb. 4.

Church spokesperson Lisa Pak says Lim left for North Korea on Jan. 27 and arrived in the country four days later, after stopovers in China and South Korea.

Pak says the 60-year-old has a wife and an adult son who are “doing as best they can” under the circumstances.

Lim was in North Korea to support building a nursery, orphanage and nursing home, Pak said. She says Lim is part of a project that “aims to help the people there live sustainably.”

Pak added that Lim’s efforts are not meant to be political.

Meekes said Canada continues to advise its citizens not to travel to North Korea “under any circumstance.” She added that Canada does not have an embassy in the county so its ability to help in the matter is “extremely limited.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson echoed those sentiments in a conference call with reporters. “Don’t go to North Korea,” Nicholson said. “Don’t travel there.”

The Light Korean Presbyterian Church said it hopes others will join in praying for Lim’s “release and safe return home.”