OTTAWA: A Canadian pastor who went missing in North Korea is being held by the communist state’s authorities, his church and Canadian consular officials said on Thursday (Friday in Manila).
Reverend Hyeon Soo Lim, 60, has not been heard from since January 31, just after he arrived in North Korea via China.
The Light Korean Presbyterian Church said his family “received notice from Canadian officials that the government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has confirmed that Mr. Hyeon Soo Lim is being held in North Korea.”
A Canadian government official told Agence France-Presse that Ottawa is aware of a Canadian citizen detained in North Korea and is trying to help them.
But, the official added, Ottawa has no diplomatic relations with North Korea and so “the ability of Canadian officials to provide consular assistance is extremely limited.”
Lim went missing while on a humanitarian mission, according to church officials. He had led many aid missions to North Korea in the past involving work with orphanages and nursing homes, they said.
Lim’s lack of communication was initially attributed to the 21-day quarantine imposed on all foreign visitors to North Korea to prevent any outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus.