Trudeau confirms release of ailing Canadian pastor imprisoned in North Korea

Trudeau confirms release of ailing Canadian pastor imprisoned in North Korea

"The Government of Canada was actively engaged on Mr. Lim's case at all levels", said Trudeau.

Canada has no diplomatic representation in Pyongyang and Sweden acts as its "protecting power" when it comes to consular issues affecting Canadians in North Korea.

His family thanked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other officials, including Sweden's ambassador to North Korea, for their efforts.

A statement from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office on Thursday said that Lim had been freed and "will soon be reunited with his family and friends".

"Pastor Lim's health and well-being remain of the utmost importance to the Government of Canada, and we are working to ensure he receives any required medical attention", Trudeau said in the statement.

Lim, a pastor with the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Mississauga, Ont., had been sentenced by a North Korean court to life in prison with hard labour for what it called crimes against the state.

"Operational security considerations prevent us from discussing the matter further", he added, asking the media to respect the family's privacy.

"Strategically, North Korea perhaps hopes to engender some goodwill from Canada as tensions rise", said Charles Burton, a former Canadian diplomat in China.

More news: Israel military says helicopter crashes, killing 1 pilot

It's good to see at least one bright spot amid the sound and fury of the rhetorical standoff over North Korea.

The European Union on Thursday expanded its North Korean sanctions blacklist as fiery rhetoric between Washington and Pyongyang sent tensions soaring.

North Korea has in the past attracted the attention of Washington and visits by high-profile Americans with the detention and release of US citizens.

Tens of thousands of North Koreans took to the streets of Pyongyang in a display of defiance after U.S. President Donald Trump's latest warning to the reclusive state.

On Wednesday, North Korea's KCNA news agency said he was released on "sick bail".

Lim, who has a wife and son living in the Toronto area, started the Light Korean Presbyterian Church almost three decades ago, shortly after he emigrated from South Korea.

A Mississauga man who has been in detention in North Korea for the past two and a half years is finally coming home.

"All government-to-government cooperation and communication on topics not covered under the Controlled Engagement Policy has been suspended", Global Affairs says on its website.

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