Alek Sigley, the Perth man who has been missing in North Korea for more than a week, is “safe and sound” in China.
Fears were mounting over the 29-year-old’s fate after he suddenly lost contact with friends and family on June 25.
“I’m okay, I’m okay, yeah I’m good, I’m very good,” Mr Sigley told reporters in a Beijing airport.
He did not respond when asked to explain what happened to him in Pyongyang.
The student will travel to Tokyo later today to be reunited with his wife, Yuka Morinaga, 26.
His father Gary told reporters he did not know yet whether his son had plans to return to North Korea, or his home in Australia, after visiting his wife in Japan.
“We are just over the moon that he is safe and sound,” Mr Sigley said.
“I am sure in the coming weeks there will be more information over what has transpired.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison was met with jubilant cheers of “hear hear” when he announced the news to Parliament at 2.20pm (AEST) on Thursday.
— Australian House of Representatives (@AboutTheHouse) July 4, 2019
NK News reported on Thursday afternoon that the 29-year-old’s apparent release followed a visit to North Korea by a special envoy of the Swedish government.
The Australian government has not had an embassy in North Korea since 1975, and had been working with Sweden to try and confirm Mr Sigley’s whereabouts.
Kent Rolf Magnus Harstedt, special envoy of the Swedish government, and his party arrived in Pyongyang on Monday. pic.twitter.com/OjDdMzAq3F
— DPRK (North Korea) 🇰🇵 (@NorthKoreaDPRK) July 4, 2019
Mr Sigley had written a number of stories for NK News, an anti-North Korea publication, while studying at Pyongyang’s Kim II Sung University.
His connection to the news outlet featured among a range of theories seeking to explain his sudden silencing.
The student and tour guide operator was reportedly detained in North Korea by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) last week.
“Swedish authorities advised they met with senior officials with the DPRK and raised the issue of Alex’s disappearance,” Mr Morrison told the chamber when announcing the news on Thursday.
“We were advised that the DPRK had released Alek from detention and he has now safely left the country.”
The Prime Minister thanked the Swedish authorities for their “invaluable assistance in securing Alek’s prompt release”.
“I’m sure we all could not be more pleased that we not only know where Alek is, but that we know he is safe,” Mr Morrison said.
Mr Sigley, a fluent Korean speaker, runs tour guides in North Korea and is usually very active on social media.
— Alek Sigley (@AlekSigley) November 29, 2018
-More to come