North Korea is detaining the head pastor of a Canadian church who traveled to the secretive state on a humanitarian mission, a church spokeswoman said Thursday.
Canadian foreign ministry officials informed the family of the detention of Reverend Hyeon Soo Lim, 60, from the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Toronto, spokeswoman Lisa Pak told Reuters. He has been missing since Jan. 31.
Lim had made hundreds of trips to North Korea, where he helps oversee a nursing home, a nursery and an orphanage in the Rajin region, Pak said. She said she wouldn’t speculate on why North Korea had detained him.
North Korea and China have clamped down on Christian groups over the past year, and several American Christians have been detained by North Korea.
Canada suspended diplomatic relations with Pyongyang in 2010, and in 2011 imposed wide-ranging sanctions in response to North Korean nuclear weapons tests.