Detained Canadian pastor in North Korea
Hyeon Soo Lim speaks during a news conference in Pyongyang on 30 July, in this photo taken by Kyodo  (Kyodo via Reuters) Kyodo via Reuters

A Canadian pastor detained in North Korea for the past six months has reportedly confessed to carrying out anti-state activities in Pyongyang, the regime's mouthpiece has said.

During a press conference on Thursday, 30 July, the Korean-Canadian pastor Hyeon Soo Lim, 60, "admitted" to masterminding "subversive plots" against the communist regime.

The state-run outlet Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) quoted him as saying: "I have so far malignantly defamed the dignity and social system of the DPRK [official name of North Korea], pursuant to the scenario of the US and the South Korean regime."

"I delivered a report on what is going on in North Korea before tens of thousands of South Koreans and overseas Koreans at sermon on Sundays at my church and during preaching tours of more than 20 countries."

Lim, who belongs to the Light Presbyterian Church near Toronto, reached North Korea via China on a humanitarian mission in January 2015, following which he was detained by Pyongyang. In 1986, he and his family moved to South Korea from Canada.

The KCNA report said: "He malignantly hurt the dignity of the supreme leadership and social system of the DPRK and resorted to subversive plots and activities in a sinister bid to build a religious state in the DPRK while frequenting it under the guise of 'humanitarian aid' and 'free donation' over the past 18 years."

"He confessed to all his crimes in the course of the investigation by the competent organ."

Foreigners released from North Korea have often said their "confessions" were extracted under pressure from the Kim Jong-un regime.

Canada has expressed concerns over Lim's safety and urged Pyongyang to take the diplomatic route to resolve the situation.

Diana Khaddaj, a spokesperson for the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, said: "Canada is deeply concerned with the case of Mr Lim, who remains detained in North Korea. We continue to advocate for consular access and for a resolution in his case."