by Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra
Hyeon-Soo Lim, leader of 3,000-member Light Korean Presbyterian Church in suburban Toronto, spoke both at a press conference and later at a church service, according to reports by the Hermit Kingdom's state news agency.
"The worst crime I committed was to rashly defame and insult the highest dignity and the system of the republic," Lim told a Pyongyang congregation, apparently reading from a script.
Detaining Christian foreigners is somewhat of a North Korean tradition, but accusing them of planning to set up a theocracy is new, AsiaNews said.
Lim has been held by the North Korean government since January, when the 60-year-old was scheduled to spend a few days there on humanitarian work. His church has worked in North Korea for almost 20 years, and Lim has made hundreds of trips to oversee a nursing home and orphanage there, said church spokesperson Lisa Pak.
"That's the most that we know, that the press conference happened and he admitted, I use that word very lightly, to some charges," Pak told Reuters.
The church released a statement after Lim’s confession:
The family and church are eager to have Mr. Lim home after close to 7 months in detention in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. There are no comments regarding the charges and allegations made against Mr. Lim except that the humanitarian aid projects that Mr. Lim has both initiated and supported in the DPRK have been for the betterment of the people. It is this tremendous love for the people of the DPRK that motivated Mr. Lim to travel to the nation over 100 times. He remains a compassionate and generous man and we hope to see him home soon. We are grateful for all those who share in our concerns and ask for your continued prayers and support...