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Canadian pastor ‘admits’ he worked to “build a religious state” in North Korea

Hyeon Soo Lim visited the country more than 100 times, helping build an orphanage and a nursing home. After six months detained, he appeared apologising for his “indescribable treason”. 

SOURCES CNN, Huffington Post, Evangelical Focus AUTHOR Evangelical Focus ONTARIO 31 JULY 2015 12:33 h GMT+1
Pastor Hyeon Soo Lim Pastor Hyeon Soo Lim. / Light Korean Presbyterian Church

The Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Ontario (Canada) announced in March that their pastor, Hyeon Soo Lim, had been disappeared for weeks after he did not return from a humanitarian trip to North Korea in February.

Now the official North Korean news agency KCNA announced that Lim “honestly admitted” alleged ‘crimes’ in a press conference held at the People’s Palace of Culture in the regime’s capital Pyongyang.

“In order to create the impression that it is God, and not the Worker’s Party and this country’s government which give things to eat and provide means to live we intentionally drew the cross and wrote the name of the church and Bible phrases on the sacks of provisions that were donated,” Lim reportedly said in front of a packed room of local journalists.

He apologised for this “indescribable treason.”

In his alleged confession, Lim said his purpose was to “overturn its social system by taking advantage of the hostile policy against it sought by the South Korean authorities and set up a base for building a religious state”, the regime’s agency quoted him as saying.

“The most serious crimes I have committed are that I severely slandered and impaired the supreme dignity and system of this country and perpetrated a scheme to overthrow the state”, an AP journalist quotes Lim as saying.



A church leader who speaks on behalf of the family, Lisa Pak, described the trips as “routine” and said that Lim had visited the country over 100 times.

In a statement on Thursday, Pak said, “There are no comments regarding the charges and allegations made against Mr. Lim except that the humanitarian aid projects that Mr. Lim has both initiated and supported in the DPRK have been for the betterment of the people.”


Leaders of the Korean Light Presbyterian Church (Ontario, Canada), in a prayer meeting for pastor Lim. / Christianity Daily

“The family and church are eager to have Mr. Lim home after close to seven months in detention in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” read a statement from spokesperson Lisa Pak on Thursday.

“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 (…) It is this tremendous love for the people of the DPRK that motivated Mr. Lim to travel to the nation over 100 times”, she said.



“Canada is deeply concerned with the case of Mr. Lim, who remains detained in North Korea”, said Diana Khaddaj, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development.

“We continue to advocate for consular access and for a resolution in his case.”



Only a few days ago, North Korean Delegate for Cultural Relations Alejandro Cao said it is “absolutely false” that Christians are persecuted under the North Korean regime.


Cao's denial on Twitter. / Twitter

In a dialogue on Twitter with an Evangelical Focus journalist, Cao mocked evangelical Christians, saying: “You take advantage of drug addicts and homeless people to force them to become evangelists in exchange of a plate of soup.”

When asked about the existence of a God who would do justice to the Christians living under dictator Kim Jong Un’s regime, he answered: “He [God] seems to be arriving late. We have been here for 70 years, and many more to come”.




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Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.