North Korea Releases Jailed Canadian Pastor Amid Standoff With US

North Korea Jailed Canadian

Canada FM urges US, North Korea to step back

Hyeon Soo Lim, a Toronto-area pastor who was detained in North Korea for over two years, is back in the city after catching a connecting flight in Ottawa.

Freeland, speaking days after a Canadian pastor was released from a North Korean prison, said North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile program is a grave threat that must be stopped.

She said she briefly spoke with her North Korean counterpart, Ri Yong Ho, on the sidelines of an ASEAN ministers gathering in Manila on Sunday and with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing on Wednesday.

Lim, a pastor with the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Mississauga, had been serving a life sentence with hard labour for anti-state activities when the North Korean government released him on what it described as "sick bail".

Lim's family said on Thursday he is healthy and not in critical condition.

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Tensions on the Korean Peninsula escalated further this week as the United States and North Korea exchanged a series of threats, with US President Donald Trump tweeting on Friday that the USA military was "locked and loaded".

"What North Korea is doing is absolutely unacceptable, and it's posing an unacceptable security threat both in the region and to the entire world", she said.

"We need to seek ways to de-escalate the situation", she said.

"Canada really understands the importance of independent, objective, transparent dispute settlement within NAFTA and it's something that we'll be talking about with our partners and explaining to them", Freeland said.

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