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S. Korea welcomes N. Korea's release of Korean-Canadian pastor

2017/08/10 15:21

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SEOUL, Aug. 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korea on Thursday welcomed North Korea's release of an imprisoned Korean-Canadian pastor, urging the North to free the South Korean citizens still held in captivity.

"Our government welcomes the release of pastor Lim Hyeon-soo, who had been detained in North Korea," Cho June-hyuck, spokesman at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a press briefing.

The spokesman said Canada has been in close communication with South Korea on Lim's captivity as it is a like-minded country that supports South Korea's policy direction on the North.

"Our government is also mustering the utmost efforts for the prompt release and return of our citizens held in North Korea," Cho said, calling on the North to return the rest of the detainees including South Koreans to their family as soon as possible.

On Wednesday, North Korea announced that it released the Canadian national on sick bail for humanitarian reasons. Having entered North Korea in January 2015, Lim was convicted of subversion and sentenced to hard labor for life and has since been held in the country.

The South Korean spokesman said that Seoul is repeatedly calling for North Korea's release of foreign detainees through countries with ties to North Korea and international organizations.

Currently, six South Koreans including three Christian missionaries and three Americans are detained in the North.