Pastor freed from North Korean prison arrives back in Canada

By Jim Finkle

OTTAWA-A pastor in ontario, who was serving a sentence of life in prison in North Korea finally returned to the country Saturday.

Informing Lim's arrival to the country, Global Affairs Canada said in a statement: "Today, we join Pastor Lim's family and congregation in celebrating his long-awaited return to Canada".

The Toronto resident Lim started the Light Korean Presbyterian Church nearly 30 years ago. "There's a lot of complexity to it", James Lim said.

James Lim said his dad was extremely grateful to the Canadian government.

"Now more than ever, he's never felt more Canadian", the son said.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland on Friday condemned North Korea's "unacceptable" actions while urging both the United States and the totalitarian regime to step back from a possible catastrophic conflict on the Korean peninsula.

The announcement came amid heightened tensions between Washington and Pyongyang, though authorities have not said there is any connection between his release and efforts to defuse the standoff over North Korea's nuclear program.

Canada's foreign minister says North Korea's nuclear program poses a "grave threat" to the security of the world and called on the country to fall into line with the global community.

Lim, a 62-year-old South Korean-born Canadian citizen, was convicted and sentenced in 2015 for allegedly trying to use religion to destroy the North Korean system and helping US and South Korean authorities lure and abduct North Korean citizens.

Lim is pastor at the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Toronto.

The family thanked the Canadian government for helping secure his Lim's release.

At least three Americans and six South Koreans remain in custody in the North.

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