Canadian foreign minister spoke to North Korean counterpart ahead of pastor's release

Remigio Civitarese
Agosto 12, 2017

Lim arrived in Toronto in the late morning Saturday, and is "landed and resting", according to a press release from his family.

Freeland said the conversation with North Korean foreign minister Ri Yong-ho occurred on Sunday on the sidelines of an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) meeting of foreign ministers.

Lim, a pastor with the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Mississauga, had been serving a life sentence with hard labour for anti-state activities when the North Korean government released him on what it described as "sick bail".

Lim's family had become more concerned for his welfare since the death in June of American student Otto Warmbier, who had been held in North Korea for 17 months.

Freeland also said Canada is united with its allies in calling for North Korea to stop its nuclear programme.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula escalated further this week as the United States and North Korea exchanged a series of threats, with US President Donald Trump tweeting on Friday that the USA military was "locked and loaded".

Freeland said Canada is "working with our global partners to seek a resolution, a de-escalation" in the situation.

There was no obvious direct connection between the release and the standoff with the United States, but North Korea has in the past attracted the attention of Washington, and visits by high-profile Americans, with the detention and release of USA citizens.

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