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Published: Thu, August 10, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

North Korea releases Canadian citizen on "humanitarian" grounds

North Korea releases Canadian citizen on

South Korea-born Canadian pastor Hyeon Soo Lim stands during his trial at a North Korean court in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, North Korea on December 16, 2015.

Lim's family has become more concerned for his welfare since the June death of American student Otto Warmbier who had been held in North Korea for 17 months.

The news was announced after a delegation from the Canadian government went to Pyongyang to discuss Lim's case.

Two other Western Christians, a pair of American professors at North Korea's evangelical-run private university, were taken into custody in April and May-the latest in a string of missionaries to get in trouble in Pyongyang.

"Obviously, Pastor Lim's health and well-being remain of utmost importance to the government of Canada and we are continuing to engage on his case", Trudeau's media relations manager Cameron Ahmad in a statement.

The American, 23, was released from Pyongyang prison and sent to the United States with "food poisoning" but soon died.

He died just six days after his release from North Korea due to a brain injury sustained while in custody.

Mr Lim has complained of stomach pain and high blood pressure in letters home to Mississauga, Ontario.

The US State Department has since announced a travel ban that will take effect next month, preventing almost all US citizens from visiting North Korea, with the exception of journalists and humanitarian workers.

The delegation that arrived in North Korea today was headed by Daniel Jean, who serves as Justin Trudeau's national security advisor.

He is the second foreign citizen to be released on what the North Koreans have termed "humanitarian grounds" in 2017, following the release of USA citizen Otto Warmbier in June.

Lim is on his way home to his family, including a granddaughter he will meet for the first time, and his 3,000-member congregation, Light Korean Presbyterian Church in suburban Toronto.

Previous year he was digging holes for eight hours a day in a labour camp, but claimed he was the "sole prisoner" when he spoke to CNN.

He then added, Canada would "do whatever we can to ameliorate and defuse the situation with North Korea".

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