Pastor freed from North Korean prison arrives back in Canada

"One of the things my father shared is that as a Canadian going to North Korea for him was to be able to share the blessing of Canada to those in North Korea", the pastor's son said.

Lim is pastor at the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Toronto.

Freeland said Canada is "working with our worldwide partners to seek a resolution, a de-escalation" in the situation.

Mr. Trudeau so far has said only that he is "pleased and relieved" about Mr. Lim's release, declining to go into detail, citing operational security considerations.

Hyeon Soo Lim was serving a life sentence of hard labour in North Korea for alleged anti-state activities, but was released last week on what the North Korean government described as sick bail. The pastor had travelled to North Korea more than a hundred times to lead humanitarian programs.

Canada does not have diplomatic offices in Pyongyang and relies on Sweden to handle consular issues. "There's a lot of complexity to it", James Lim said.

"Now more than ever, he's never felt more Canadian", the son said. "To know that Canada has stood for him, stood by him - we are so grateful".

The Canadian pastor was punished after he was accused of "defaming the supreme leadership, using religion to disrupt the country's system, helping American and South Korean to abduct North Korean citizens and spreading negative propaganda about the country overseas".

She said she briefly spoke with her North Korean counterpart, Ri Yong Ho, on the sidelines of an ASEAN ministers gathering in Manila on Sunday and with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing on Wednesday. "When they are threatened, we are there".

Vanessa Coleman