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Canadian pastor detained in North Korea hospitalized, report says

By Elizabeth Shim
Canadian pastor detained in North Korea hospitalized, report says
Hyeon Soo Lim, a Canadian national, has been undergoing medical treatment due to failing health, according to Canadian diplomats. File Photo by KCNA

SEOUL, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- A Canadian pastor detained in North Korea has been hospitalized for two months due to deteriorating health.

Hyeon Soo Lim, founder of Light Presbyterian Church in Toronto, has been in North Korea custody since January 2015. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labor last December.

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Canadian diplomats told Radio Free Asia that Lim, who is in his 60s, has been undergoing treatment since August 2016.

The Canadian foreign ministry also informed Lim's family of his worsening condition, according to the report.

Ottawa has been involved in talks with Pyongyang but diplomats have said it would not be easy to negotiate Lim's release, according to RFA.

In July, Canadian Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion met with top North Korean official Ri Yong Ho on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum held in Vientiane, Laos, to discuss Lim's case.

Lim immigrated to Canada from South Korea in 1986.

For two decades, Lim had traveled to North Korea 110 times for humanitarian work and also had served as a Christian missionary in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and China.

Lim supported the construction of nursing homes and child-care centers in North Korea.

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Last December, North Korea charged Lim of "undertaking a special plot to overthrow the state."

North Korea's prosecutor allegedly demanded a death sentence for Lim but was overruled. KCNA stated the sentence was reduced in order for Lim to live to see the day the Koreas are unified.

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