Toronto-area pastor Hyeon Soo Lim is expected back on Canadian soil today after more than two years in detention in North Korea.
Lim is expected to land in Ontario this morning aboard a Canadian military aircraft, completing his journey home after he was freed from Pyongyang earlier this week. It’s not clear whether he will arrive in Toronto or at another airport.
He is expected to be reunited with his family at the airport. They have not seen each other in person since the pastor was arrested in 2015 and sentenced to a life of hard labour in prison for crimes against the state.
The six-member Canadian delegation that secured Lim’s release was led by Daniel Jean, who serves as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s national security and intelligence adviser. The delegation travelled with the Presbyterian reverend.
They flew to the Yokota Airbase in Japan from Pyongyang on Thursday, after North Korea’s Central Court granted Lim “sick bail” on humanitarian grounds.
From there, the Royal Canadian Air Force CC-144 Challenger aircraft flew across the Pacific Ocean, making stopovers in Guam, Honolulu and Vancouver.
Lim’s release comes after the Canadian delegation was dispatched from Ottawa to the reclusive regime last Saturday. The team spent 40 hours in Pyongyang, from Tuesday evening until Thursday morning, holding talks with senior North Korean officials, and left the capital with Lim after he was freed.
The 62-year-old Toronto pastor with the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Mississauga, Ont., is planning to attend church service this weekend. His colleague, Rev. Jang Bae, told The Canadian Press in an email that Lim “will be attending service this Sunday.”