European Union increases bans on North Korea

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made it official at 1:12 a.m. Thursday in a statement confirming what had been reported Wednesday by North Korean state media.

His wife and son live in the Toronto area, and he is attached to the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Mississauga, Ont., one of the largest churches in Canada.

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.

"Pastor Lim's health and well-being remain of utmost importance to the government of Canada as we continue to engage on this case", Cameron Ahmad, a spokesman for the Prime Minister's Office, told The Canadian Press on Tuesday.

"Operational security considerations prevent us from discussing the matter further", it said.

While Lim and his family and friends are just relieved that he is now back in Canada, one can not ignore the timing of his release, as latest developments between North Korea and the United States have been at an all time low and getting extremely tense.

Tillerson urges Pyongyang to stop missile tests
China and Russian Federation slammed United States deployment of the THAAD anti-missile defense system in South Korea. However Pyongyang has so far rejected offers of dialogue, cooperation and humanitarian assistance.

Pastor Lim's church, which is around 3,000 strong, has supported various missions to North Korea.

Pyongyang's already strained relations with Washington spiked to new levels of hostility after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened North Korea that it "will be met with fire and fury" if it threatens the U.S.

But they were thrilled with the prime minister's statement. The pastor had successfully travelled to North Korea more than 100 times over the past two decades, they added. It's possible they wanted him out before his health deteriorated further and they faced an embarrassing repeat of the case of Otto Warmbier, the American who was so badly treated in North Korea that he died days after being freed.

Another politician who had campaigned for his release, Senator Yonah Martin said, 'I had a great sense of relief but it took me by surprise only because it had been so long'.

After intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests of missiles capable of reaching the United States mainland were carried out by North Korea last week, the UN imposed its "most stringent" restrictions so far with the intention of cutting almost $1bn out of the country's export revenue.