Seoul (AsiaNews) – North Korea announced that a detained Canadian pastor has confessed to a "subversive plot" to overthrow the government and set up a "religious state". North Korea’s state news agency KCNA reported Hyeon Soo Lim's “confession”.
Detaining foreigners as spies is an old North Korean tradition, but the charge of planning to set up a theocracy in the last Stalinist state in the world is something new.
The 60-year-old reverend of a Toronto-based church was detained in January when he travelled to North Korea for humanitarian work.
Mr Lim, who heads the Light Korean Presbyterian Church, had made numerous humanitarian aid missions to North Korea for nearly two decades.
Mr Lim's church released a statement on behalf of his family, which said that his humanitarian projects were "both initiated and supported" in North Korea and "have been for the betterment of the people".
The KCNA report said Mr Lim gave a press conference on Thursday in Pyongyang where he admitted to using humanitarian work as a "guise" for "subversive plots and activities in a sinister bid to build a religious state".
He also reportedly admitted saying that "North Korea should be collapsed with the love of 'God'".
Forcing people to make "public confessions" is a long-standing practice in the Kim-run dictatorship.