Canadian pastor freed by North Korea healthy, 'not in critical condition': family

Canadian PM Trudeau quietly sends national security adviser to North Korea as Trump vows 'fire and fury'

This release, helped by the Swedish diplomat, has been obtained at the time when tensions are intensifying between the Pyongyang regime and the United States, of which three citizens are still prisoners in North Korea.

Lim, who had visited North Korea dozens of times since 1997, was serving a life sentence of hard labour after he was arrested and convicted in 2015 of "crimes against the state".

A Canadian pastor freed from a North Korean prison on humanitarian grounds is healthy and not in critical condition, his family said on Thursday.

This is no doubt a relief for not only Lim's immediate family and friends, but the congregation he ministers over.

All of this tension, Mr. Trudeau has blown word, and has only himself to thank in a statement "Sweden is our protecting power in North Korea, aid that it has brought us".

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.

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

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

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

The pastor, who was released after more than two years in prison in North Korea, is seen in footage broadcast by Japan's TV Asahi.

This week, Trudeau said a Canadian government delegation led by the country's national security adviser travelled to North Korea to discuss Lim's imprisonment.

Canada does not have an embassy in North Korea, and has advised against all travel there.

Hyeon was freed hours after President Donald Trump warned that the U.S. would counter any threat from the North with "fire and fury", although it is unclear if the pastor's release had any connection to the ongoing standoff between Washington and Pyongyang.

On Wednesday, North Korea said it was considering plans for a missile strike on the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, just hours after President Donald Trump, unhappy with Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program, told the North that any threat to the United States would be met with "fire and fury". He is of South Korean origin.

Hyeon was charged for allegedly harming the dignity of the North Korean leadership, among others.

Ottawa announced the adoption of a Controlled Engagement Policy toward North Korea, which remains in place today.

"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.

Hyeon is expected to return to Canada on Thursday (10 August).