03/03/2015, 00.00
NORTH KOREA - CANADA

North Korea, Protestant pastor "missing" for over a month

The Rev. Lim Hyeon-soo, from the Light Korean Presbyterian Church of Toronto, was in the Asian country for a humanitarian visit. He was due to return February 4, but there has been no news of him since January 31. The religious leader has made more than 100 trips to the land of the Kim-regime.

Seoul (AsiaNews) - The pastor Lim Hyeon-soo, 60, has been missing in North Korea for more than a month and there has been no news of him. The religious leader arrived in the country last January 31, 2015 on a humanitarian visit, and was due to return on 4 February. But since his entry into the land of the Kim regime there has been no more information. The spokesman of the Light Korean Presbyterian Church of Toronto, Lisa Pak, says: "We do not want to cause unnecessary hysteria. We only want to know if he's okay."

The Rev. Lim (see photo) has made more than 100 trips to North Korea, and is described as "entirely non-political". His visits were all humanitarian in purpose, especially to aid the elderly and orphans. A Canadian citizen, the man was born on the Korean Peninsula: however, his country of adoption does not have a diplomatic presence in the country and has always advised its citizens not to visit the DPRK.

Diplomatic sources believe his disappearance "for the time being is not worrying" given that Pyongyang has issued a restriction on entry visas lasting 21 days for fear of the Ebola virus. The measure was withdrawn today. In addition, many experts note that the citizens of countries "not directly opposed" to the regime, if arrested, are released quickly.

The Australian missionary John Short, 75, was arrested February 16, 2014 on charges of "distributing religious material"; March 3 he was released "for humanitarian reasons". The position of US citizens is more complicated: the last two Americans to end up in the hands of Pyongyang were released after years and only thanks to intense diplomatic activity.

 

 

 

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