U.S. calls for release of its citizens after North Korea releases Canadian pastor on ‘sick bail’

U.S. calls for release of its citizens after North Korea releases Canadian pastor on ‘sick bail’


North Korea claims it freed Canadian pastor
Lim Hyeon-soo on humanitarian grounds amid his worsening health conditions. This prompted fresh request by the U.S. for
the release of three Americans still detained by the regime. Cha Sang-mi zooms in on Pyongyang’s unexpected
move and its impact. North Korea released Korean-Canadian detainee
Lim Hyeon-soo from jail on Thursday over his deteriorating health. He had been serving a life sentence since
2015 for alleged anti-state activities. Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency
said the 62-year-old pastor was let go on “sick bail,” after a Canadian government delegation
arrived in Pyongyang to negotiate Lim’s case. And with Lim being released amid the heightened
tensions between North Korea and the U.S., experts say the move is part of the regime’s
survival strategy. “After the recent death of Otto Warmbier shook
the international community, North Korea is now trying to improve its tarnished image
with a friendly gesture – by releasing Pastor Lim Hyeon-soo on ‘sick-bail’.” Warmier died soon after returning home in
June, after being released from the North in a comatose state. Another expert, however, says that the regime
could be sending a strategic message to the U.S. by releasing a Canadian detainee, rather
than a U.S. citizen. “The North solved this issue by negotiating
with the Canadian national security in Pyongyang. Paradoxically, the regime is sending a message
that the United States too, should contact the North and solve their problems.” Amid the overheated verbal tensions between
the U.S. and North Korean leaders, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Monday that
Washington was willing to talk to Pyongyang. “Just because they may be open to holding
talks, it doesn’t mean Rex Tillerson is going against the U.S. President. The U.S. has two cards – sanctions and engagement
– and they are using them one at a time.” While the U.S. President and the Secretary
of State are using different approaches to reach the same goal…
experts say the current tensions between the U.S. and North Korea are not likely to subside
easily. There is also a possibility the U.S. State
Department will send out their special envoy to the regime to try and obtain the release
of the three Korean-Americans detained by the state. Cha Sang-mi, Arirang News.

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