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11 August 2017, 12:30 | Kara Nash
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Hyeon Soo Lim, a South Korean-born Canadian citizen in his 60s, was sentenced to life in prison in 2015 on charges of trying to use religion to destroy the North Korean system and helping USA and South Korean authorities lure and abduct North Korean citizens.
Canadian Christians are celebrating the release of a pastor who hadd been held captive in North Korea since 2015.
But they were thrilled with the prime minister's statement.
After tests of an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the USA mainland, the United Nations last week imposed the most damaging restrictions so far aimed at slashing North Korea's vital export earnings.
This April 15, 2017 picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 16, 2017 shows Korean People's ballistic missiles being displayed through Kim Il-Sung square during a military parade in Pyongyang marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung.
Hyeon Soo Lim, a pastor with the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Mississauga, Ontario, is expected to arrive back in Canada on Thursday after more than two years in detention.
However, following North Korea's aggressive actions in 2010, including the sinking of a South Korean warship in a disputed area, led Canada to impose tight restrictions on the relationship.
The church has taken on numerous humanitarian projects in North Korea, one of which prompted Lim's last trip there in January 2015.
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"Missions will never stop, no matter where they may be", he said.
There was no clear connection between the release of Hyeon Soo Lim and the heightened rhetoric between Washington and Pyongyang.
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeauwelcomed the news and said, 'The Government of Canada was actively engaged on Mr Lim's case at all levels'.
In a statement Thursday on his website, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed relief that Lim had been freed.
There was the case of the American Otto Warmbier, who was also detained in North Korea after attempting to steal a propaganda poster from a Pyongyang hotel.
Lim's own health was of concern to his family members, who had said the pastor needed medication to manage his blood pressure.
Neither Ahmad nor Global Affairs responded to request for comment on Lim's release.
Ottawa announced the adoption of a Controlled Engagement Policy toward North Korea, which remains in place today.
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