Canadian Pastor freed by North Korea

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Lim is senior pastor at the Light Presbyterian Church in Mississauga and had made more than 100 trips to North Korea in the past 20 years, supporting orphanages and a seniors' home.

Canada does not have diplomatic offices in Pyongyang and relies on Sweden to handle consular issues.

The pastor had been arrested in January 2015 and accused of acts subversive against the north Korean regime, what the canadian authorities have always strongly denied.

But they were thrilled with the prime minister's statement.

A Canadian delegation led by Daniel Jean, the national security adviser to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, was in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang this week to discuss Lim's case.

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The prime minister's spokesman Cameron Ahmad said the government considered Lim's health of "utmost importance" but did not give more details.

The Lim family spokesperson Lisa Pak also said they are grateful to the Canadian government and the Swedish embassy in North Korea for working behind the scenes to secure the pastor's freedom.

There was no clear connection between the release of Hyeon Soo Lim and the heightened rhetoric between Washington and Pyongyang.

"Operational security considerations prevent us from discussing the matter further", he added, asking the media to respect the family's privacy. (STAND UP) The Blue House initially said it would not have held an NSC meeting just because of rhetoric but chose to convene the standing committee for now to analyze North Korea's military movements and the objective of the regime's threats.

North Korean officials said the pastor's health was not good and he was released on humanitarian grounds.

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At least three Americans and six South Koreans remain in custody in the North.

The meeting was called after North Korea earlier this week declared that it will quote "seriously" examine an "enveloping strike" of Guam with four of its missiles, and will finalize a plan to do that by mid-August.

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.

The European Union expanded its sanctions on North Korea as the back and forth between the United States and Pyongyang escalated.

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.

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