It seems that sometimes government officials can do good work behind the scenes. Harper didn't make an issue of this case and that may very well have helped facilitate developments out of the media limelight.
Detained Canadian aid worker freed by North Korea
Updated Mon. Jan. 28 2008 6:26 AM ET
The Canadian Press
TORONTO -- A humanitarian aid worker from Edmonton who was detained in North Korea for nearly three months is free.
A spokesman for Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Helena Guergis told The Canadian Press Monday that Je Yell Kim was deported to China on Saturday.
Jeffrey Kroeker said Kim was met at the Chinese border by Canadian consular officials who were working to reunite him with his family.
Kroeker also thanked North Korean authorities for allowing Canadian consular officials to visit Kim on two separate occasions.
Jess Dutton, a counsellor at Canada's embassy in Seoul, told The Associated Press that Kim has been reunited with his family, but declined to comment on his current location, citing their request for privacy.
Kim, who is in his 50's, has spent several years working in a poor area of North Korea where foreign aid workers are normally welcome.
He was reportedly detained on Nov. 3 on undisclosed "national security matters.''
According to the U.S. government-funded radio station Voice of America, during an interrogation, Kim wrote in a statement that he had criticized the communist North Korean regime and had tried to set up a church in the North. The report has not been confirmed.
North Korea nominally allows freedom of religion to its 23 million people, but the practice is severely restricted.
The U.S. State Department last year designated North Korea as a nation that persecutes people because of their religious faiths.
Last week, Ted Lipman, Canada's ambassador to South Korea, was reported to have led a diplomatic mission to Pyongyang, the North Korean capital.
Guergis would not comment directly on the negotiations to gain Kim's freedom, but said: "I am very proud of the great work our Canadian consular officials did to make it possible for Mr. Kim to be reunited with his family.''