Alex Sigley Says 'I'm Good' After Being Freed From North Korea
Australian student Alek Sigley says he is feeling great after being freed from detention in North Korea, but remained tight-lipped about his experience.
The 29-year-old arrived in Beijing on Thursday and later boarded a flight to Tokyo to reunite with his wife.
"I'm OK, I'm OK, yeah. I'm good. I'm very good ... great," he told reporters at Beijing airport on his arrival from North Korea.
Sigley, a Perth man living in Pyongyang, vanished without a trace last week. His family was worried about his sudden disappearance, as he had not made contact for several days.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced in parliament on Thursday that Sigley had been in detention in North Korea. He has now left the country, has travelled to China, and is on his way to Japan.
"I'm pleased to announce that Mr Alex Sigley has been released from detention in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Alex is safe and well," the PM said on Thursday afternoon, interrupting the daily Question Time session as Sigley's status was confirmed.
It is unknown why or how Sigley found himself in detention in the reclusive nation.
10 daily has contacted the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for comment. Sigley is said to be at the Australian consulate in Beijing.
Korean media outlets reported on Thursday that a Swedish diplomatic envoy had met with officials, leading to Sigley's release. Morrison confirmed this.
"Swedish authorities advised they met with senior officials with the DPRK and raised the issue of Alex's disappearance. We were advised that the DPRK have released him from detention and he has safely left the country and I can confirm that he has arrived safely," Morrison said.
"On behalf of the Australian Government I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to the Swedish authorities for their invaluable assistance in securing Alek's prompt release, which demonstrates the value of discrete behind-the-scenes work by officials in solving sensitive consular cases in close partnership with other governments," Morrison continued.
"I'm sure we all could not be more pleased. We know where he is now safe."
Foreign minister Marise Payne said Sigley's father had been informed.
"He is enormously relieved and grateful and has asked me to convey, the family has asked that we convey the thanks to everyone who has expressed support to them for the last few," she told the Senate.
Sigley's father, speaking from Perth, said the family was "over the moon" after hearing the news and sent thanks to DFAT and the Australian public for their assistance. He called those who gave help the "silent heroes".