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11 August, 2017, 00:30
An ailing Canadian pastor is expected to be reunited with his loved ones today after being held for more than two years in North Korea, but he still has "a long way to go" toward regaining his health, according to his family.
Lim's release came after Trudeau dispatched Daniel Jean, his national security and intelligence adviser, to the North Korean capital to discuss the pastor's case.
Lim was sentenced to hard labour for life in December 2015 for what North Korea said was an attempt to overthrow the regime.
The prime minister's spokesman Cameron Ahmad said the government considered Lim's health of "utmost importance" but did not give more details.
The Globe and Mail reports that pastor Lim's church - Light Korean Presbyterian church in Mississauga, Ontario - was "ecstatic" at the news of his release.
North Korea's official KCNA news agency announced Hyeon Soo Lim's release Wednesday, saying he was freed on "sick bail".
"The Government of Canada was actively engaged on Mr. Lim's case at all levels".
"Operational security considerations prevent us from discussing the matter further".
There was no clear connection between the release of Hyeon Soo Lim and the heightened rhetoric between Washington and Pyongyang.
In accordance with the United Nations resolution, the EU Council said in a statement released Thursday that it had added a further nine individuals, including the state-owned Foreign Trade Bank (FTB) to its sanctions list, taking the total number of blacklisted individuals to 103, plus 57 entities. His supporters have said he was on a humanitarian mission to North Korea when he was detained.
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.
South Korea, the USA and others often accuse North Korea of using foreign detainees to wrest diplomatic concessions, and foreigners have said after their release that their declarations of guilt had been coerced while in North Korean custody. He is of South Korean origin.
The 28-nation European Union has steadily increased asset freezes and travel bans on North Korea over its repeated violation of UN resolutions on its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.
Canada recognized the Democratic People's Republic of Korea - North Korea's official name - in 2000.
In addition, in August 2011, Canada imposed economic sanctions against North Korea under the Special Economic Measures Act (SEMA).
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