by ALEX HYUN | @ahyundarkb4dawn
North Korea on Monday released a video footage of a detained Korean Canadian pastor purportedly confessing before a Pyongyang church congregation that he had committed crimes against the state, reports Reuters.
Rev. Hyeon-soo Lim, head of the 3,000-member Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Toronto, entered North Korea last January for a routine humanitarian visit. Since 1997, the 60-year-old pastor has traveled to the isolated state more than 100 times and oversees a nursing home and orphanage there, according to his church. In March, North Korea notified the Canadian government of Lim’s detainment.
Nearly six months after his detainment, Lim made his first public appearance at a July 30 news conference, where he confessed to illegally entering the capital, violating the country’s Ebola quarantine policy and conducting “subversive plots” to overthrow the North Koran government.
On Aug. 2, Lim made another public appearance at Pyongyang’s Bongsu Church, one of the capital’s few state-operated churches that is often used for propaganda purposes. According to Voice of America, Lim provided the names of pastors in the United States and South Korea who have been involved with attempting to overturn the North Korean government.
“The worst crime I committed was to rashly defame and insult the highest dignity and the system of the republic,” Lim said as he read from what appeared to be a script.
The video of his confession was initially posted on Uriminzokkiri, a state-run propaganda website.
South Korean and Western media outlets have accused North Korea of forcing the pastor to make a false confession. However, Pyongyang denied these allegations on Tuesday, claiming that foreign media were “spreading misinformation.”
While Lim is currently making headlines, he is certainly not the first North American detainee forced to confess to crimes against North Korea.
Last April, Korean American humanitarian worker Sandra Suh was deported after she reportedly spread anti-North Korean propaganda, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
In 2010, Canada suspended diplomatic relations with Pyongyang. However, the country’s department of foreign affairs said that it is very concerned for Lim’s well-being, saying that it’s making efforts to negotiate his release, reported CNN.
You can watch the entire recording of the Lim’s news conference below: