North Korea Releases Imprisoned Canadian Pastor

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 was serving a life sentence of hard labor after being convicted of crimes against the state in December 2015.

The last time a Canadian delegation was sent to Pyongyang to discuss the release of the 62-year-old pastor was in late 2016.

The student died less than a week after returning to the U.S. There are three Americans still being held in North Korea.

'Pastor Lim's health and well-being remain of utmost importance to the government of Canada as we continue to engage on this case, ' said Cameron Ahmad, a spokesperson for Trudeau, yesterday.

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

According to media reports earlier this summer, Lim has problems with high blood pressure and complained about pains in the stomach in letters to friends.

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Warmbier, sentenced last year to 15 years' hard labor for trying to steal a propaganda item from his hotel during a tour, died in a Cincinnati hospital just days after being released in a coma.

Lim, the senior pastor of the Light Presbyterian Church in Mississauga, had made frequent humanitarian visits to North Korea on behalf of his church.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office did not comment on Wednesday. In 2016, he told the US network CNN that he had been digging holes for 8 hours a day.

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

Tensions between North Korea and the USA are on the rise, as North Korea has threatened to take punitive action against the U.S.in response to new sanctions, as well as other perceived provocations.

The Canadian delegation arrived on the same day US President Donald Trump warned that Pyongyang would be met "with fire and fury and, frankly, power the likes of which the world has never seen before", if it does not stop threatening the US.


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