"I'm very, very tired," 75-year-old John Short told reporters after arriving in Beijing after being deported by authorities in Pyongyang.
Short, who has conducted his missionary work out of Hong Kong, called North Korea's decision to let him leave the Communist country "generous," Yonhap News Agency reported.
The Australian Foreign Ministry called the development "welcome news for Mr. Short, his family and his supporters," the South Korean news agency said.
"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," the ministry's statement said.
North Korea's government-run news agency said Short, who was taken into custody Feb. 18, apologized for breaking the law, China's Xinhua News Agency reported.
"John Short committed a criminal act by secretly spreading his Bible tracts around a Buddhist temple in Pyongyang," the Korean Central News Agency said.
The KCNA said Short's activities hurt North Koreans' "absolute trust in their leader," but that the government decided to expel him "thanks to the tolerance of the law of the DPRK [North Korea] and in full consideration of his age."