Canada FM urges US, North Korea to step back

Canada FM urges US, North Korea to step back

Released Canadian pastor is 'landed and rested' in Toronto after North Korea prison ordeal, family says

Pastor Hyeon Soo Lim on Saturday arrived home in Canada, where he was resting after being reunited with his family following a long trek from North Korea, where he had been imprisoned since 2015, according to a family spokeswoman.

The 62-year-old pastor with the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Mississauga, Ont., just outside Toronto, had requested a private reunion with his family, Pak said.

The two nuclear powers have been steadily increasing their rhetoric, leading Freeland to condemn North Korea's actions but suggest it's time to reel in the verbal threats.

The family asked the public to respect their privacy, allowing him to rest for a day and catch up with family before appearing in public on Sunday to attend services at his church.

The family thanked the Canadian government for helping secure his Lim's release. She said Canada had been clear from the outset that Lim had to be released and returned home.

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".

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent national security adviser Daniel Jean to North Korea to seek Lim's freedom.

South Korea, the USA and others often accuse North Korea of using foreign detainees to wrest diplomatic concessions, and foreigners have said after their release that their declarations of guilt were coerced while in North Korean custody.

"We are very glad that pastor Lim is now safely home", she said.

Lim's family in June urged the Canadian government to bolster efforts to seek Lim's release, following the death of Otto Warmbier, an American student who died days after being released from a North Korean prison in a coma. He had been sentenced to hard labour for what it called crimes against the state.

Canada does not have diplomatic offices in Pyongyang and relies on Sweden to handle consular issues.

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