Australian missionary John Short, who was detained in North Korea last month after it was reported that he distributed religious material, has been deported.
John Short, 75, who has arrived in Beijing from Pyongyang, was detained after apparently leaving Christian pamphlets at a tourist site.
State-run KCNA news agency said John Short had admitted breaking North Korean law and apologized.
It said he was being released partly in consideration of his age.
Religious activity is severely restricted in North Korea and missionaries have been arrested on many previous occasions.
“I’m really, really tired,” John Short told reporters in China’s capital, Beijing, after arriving on a commercial flight.
He was immediately escorted to a vehicle from the Australian embassy, reports say.
Earlier, KCNA reported: “Short acknowledged that his actions were… unforgivable crimes in violation of our laws, offered an apology and begged for forgiveness.”
It also said that John Short had distributed religious material on a busy underground train in Pyongyang during a previous tour in August 2012.
Australia does not have a diplomatic mission in Pyongyang and is represented there by the Swedish embassy.
In a statement on Monday, the Australian government said John Short’s release was “welcome news”.
“Australian consular officials stand ready to provide assistance to Mr. Short to ensure he can return to his home in Hong Kong as soon as possible,” it said.
“We take this opportunity to thank the Swedish government for their tireless efforts on this difficult consular case in recent weeks.”
[youtube q_1NdLfP32o 650]
[youtube 28iLAXrAYts 650]