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Canadian pastor confesses to committing treason against North Korea

Hyeon Soo Lim has been held in North Korea for more than six months

PYONGYANG, NORTH KOREA–Canadian pastor Hyeon Soo Lim has made his first appearance since being detained six months ago in North Korea. During a July 30 press conference organized by his captors, Lim read a prepared statement admitting guilt on all charges levelled against him by the North Korean government.

Speaking in Korean, he apologized for “the crimes I have committed before all the people in this country.”

Lim also confessed to stamping crosses and Bible verses on packages of food aid his ministry has distributed throughout North Korea and preaching in more than 20 nations “that North Korea should be collapsed with the love of God.”

Among the more outlandish claims in the statement, he confessed to working as an agent for the United States and South Korea to abduct North Korean citizens and bring down the government. North Korea has a history of coercing detainees to make false confessions for their propaganda.

Lim disappeared, in February, 2015, while travelling with a ministry partner on a routine trip to North Korea. In the past two decades, his church has sent thousands of tonnes of food aid, winter clothing and blankets, as well as establishing numerous agricultural projects, nursing homes, orphanages, and economic projects to assist the North Korean people.

Lim has personally visited the Hermit Kingdom more than 100 times and neither he, nor his ministry partners, ever had trouble with the authorities. All of the projects had been approved by the North Korean government.

In response to the press conference, his Mississauga church released a statement saying, “the humanitarian aid projects that Mr. Lim initiated and supported in the [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] DPRK have been for the betterment of the people. It is this tremendous love for the people of the DPRK that motivated Mr. Lim. He remains a compassionate and generous man and we hope to see him home soon. We are grateful for all those who share in our concerns and ask for your continued prayers and support.”

A spokesperson for the church added, “we’re not sure how this will pan out, but we trust God’s grace and goodness.”

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About the author

Senior Correspondent

Craig Macartney lives in Ottawa, Ontario, where he follows global politics and dreams of life in the mission field.