A South Korean news agency is reporting that a Canadian pastor detained in North Korea has confessed to “subversive plots” against the Communist state during a televised news conference.
Yonhap says Rev. Hyeon Soo Lim of the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Mississauga, Ontario, is quoted by the Korean Central News Agency as saying he was “a servant of the U.S. imperialists and South Korean puppet group.”
A church spokeswoman says Lim was on a humanitarian mission to North Korea when he was detained in early February. Lisa Pak says the 60-year-old Christian missionary left Canada on Jan. 27 with stops in South Korea and China before crossing into North Korea on Jan. 31.
She says Lim’s family remains hopeful he will be released at some point, but didn’t want to comment on the reports of his alleged confessions. A Foreign Affairs spokeswoman says the government is “deeply concerned” and continues to try to arrange consular access and a find resolution to his case.
At Thursday’s news conference, Lim reportedly said that he travelled to several parts of the country pretending to deliver aid, but his real purpose was “to build a base to overthrow the system of the country and create a religious state.” He then went on to apologize for his “indescribable treason.”
Pak says the pastor has a deep love for the North Korean people, which is the reason he has visited the country more than 100 times. Lim’s family has previously said that much of his work has focused on the impoverished country’s northeastern region of Rason. Pak said he has also helped out schools, an orphanage and a nursing home.