World Media

North Korea releases Canadian pastor on "sick bail"

North Korea prisoner Lim Hyeon-soo Kim Jong-un

Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency said on its website Wednesday that Hyeon Soo Lim was released on "sick bail" following a decision by the country's Central Court.

The release of Lim, the only Canadian in North Korean custody, comes while tensions between the U.S. and North Korea are high enough for the Trump administration to issue a travel ban on Americans entering the hostile country.

North Korea sentenced the 62-year old pastor to hard labor for life in December 2015, after he was arrested for allegedly attempting to overthrow Kim Jong Un's regime.

In December, the North's highest court sentenced Lim to life in prison with hard labor, citing his "subversive plots" against the North's regime.

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

A spokesman for the PMO says Lim's health and well-being is of utmost importance as the Canadian government continues to engage on the case.

But Lim isn't the only point of concern for Trudeau in dealing with North Korea, whose aim to develop nuclear missiles capable of reaching across the Pacific has Canadians anxious they are in range.

Warmbier was in a coma when released by North Korean authorities, which according to the DPRK, was due to a rare case of botulism he contracted shortly after his sentencing in 2016.

"We want to thank the global community for the continued prayers and support and we also ask that the world does not forget the people of North Korea", the statement read.

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

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 release comes amid heightened tensions between North Korea and the West after the US President Donald Trump reacted with fury to an intelligence report that suggested Pyongyang had the nuclear firepower to hit America.

In an interview with CNN last year, the pastor said he usually spends eight hours a day digging holes in the prison where he has apparently not seen any other inmates.