Imprisoned since January 2015, the pastor Hyeon Soo Lim, aged 62, has appeared publicly on Sunday in front of his congregation in Mississauga in the greater Toronto area (Ontario, centre), in the wake of its return to canadian soil.
Lim, a pastor with the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Mississauga, Ont., was involved in humanitarian projects in North Korea.
Lim, a 62-year-old South Korean-born Canadian citizen, was convicted and sentenced in 2015 for allegedly trying to use religion to destroy the North Korean system and helping US and South Korean authorities lure and abduct North Korean citizens. "It's time for North Korea to really cease its actions".
Canada's desire to include a dispute settlement mechanism in a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has put the country on course for a potential clash with Washington, which said in its goals released last month it wants to drop the current system, known as Chapter 19.
The canadian government had thanked the Swedish diplomat, for his key role in the release of the pastor. "One of the things my father shared is that as a Canadian going to North Korea for him was to be able to share the blessing of Canada to those in North Korea", the pastor's son said.
Canada's foreign minister says North Korea's nuclear program poses a "grave threat" to the security of the world and called on the country to fall into line with the global community.
The release comes at a time of swirling worldwide tension in Pyongyang, Steven Denney, a doctoral fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs' Asian Institute, has said it is possible that Mr. Lim's release was intended as a goodwill message, to try to portray itself as a country capable of reasonable negotiation. "It catalyzed discussions over additional human-rights-focused sanctions and prompted countries to re-evaluate their policies on tourism to the North", said Andrea Berger, senior research associate at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.
"We need to find ways to pressure and persuade North Korea that the path that it is on. this path can have no positive ending for North Korea", she said following a meeting with agricultural groups in Edmonton on Friday.
U.S. President Donald Trump set a confrontational tone Tuesday, when he said the United States would respond to North Korean threats "with fire and fury the world has never seen".
She said when Canada's allies are threatened, including the United States, "we are there".