US State Secretary: North Korea Frees American Citizen

Warmbier's release came during a visit to North Korea by former National Basketball Association star Dennis Rodman, one of few people to have met both North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump.

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said, "It's clear that Pyongyang has committed a grave injustice against Otto and his family, and the news that he may be returning with a serious medical problem raises concerns about what happened to him in North Korean custody".

It is not immediately possible to determine whether Mr. Warmbier's condition is due to events as described by the North Korean government.

Rodman - a former contestant on Trump's Celebrity Apprentice television show - has travelled to the reclusive state four times since 2013 as part of a quixotic mission to broker a detente deal between the U.S. and North Korea.

Analyst Daniel Pinkston, a lecturer at Troy University, said he did not believe that Rodman was going as a back-channel emissary from Trump despite United States media speculation.

Any visit to North Korea by a high-profile American is a political minefield.

But on his final night in Pyongyang - New Year's Eve - he apparently went to a staff-only floor of his hotel and attempted to take down a large propaganda sign lauding the regime.

The North Korean court held that Warmbier had committed a crime "pursuant to the USA government's hostile policy toward (the North), in a bid to impair the unity of its people after entering it as a tourist". His current visit has already been roundly criticized by some for its timing, during high tensions between the USA and North Korea over its weapons programs and recent missile launches. Officials involved in negotiations to free Warmbier and another American citizen who is being detained were told they were being treated as prisoners of war.

After the Swedish diplomats met with the detained Americans, the North Koreans urgently asked to have a meeting with the U.S.in NY.

But in Pyongyang, the Swedes were allowed to see only one detainee, and it wasn't Warmbier.

When asked if he would bring up the cases of Warmbier and three other Americans detained in North Korea, Rodman told reporters, "that's not my goal right now". "This is him freelancing", the official told Reuters.

If it were, there might be pressure on President Trump to take action against Kim Jong-un's regime, he says.

Otto Warmbier
EPAThe University of Virginia student was accused of trying to steal a propaganda flag by North Korea

The young undergraduate honors student was forced the next month, at a staged news conference, to admit to a "very severe and pre-planned crime", saying that the "aim of my task was to harm the motivation and work ethic of the Korean people".

This combination of file photos shows former NBA basketball star Dennis Rodman in Pyongyang, North Korea on December 20, 2013, left, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang on April 15, 2017. The official referred to them as "hostages".

Rodman, one of the few people to know both of the nuclear-armed leaders, sported a black T-shirt advertising a marijuana cybercurrency as he talked to reporters briefly before his flight from Beijing to the North Korean capital. A department of state spokeswoman said the former basketball player had nothing to do with Warmbier's release. Yun and two physicians flew to Pyongyang and visited Warmbier Monday.

Despite the increasingly hostile US-North Korean relationship, the Warmbiers said they were encouraged by US President Donald Trump's willingness to improve relations with North Korea. Pritish Tosh, an infectious diseases physician, told the Washington Post that in some very specific instances, patients suffering from botulism may be placed in medically induced comas while being connected to a ventilator to facilitate their care, though it is now unclear if that's what happened to Warmbier. USA officials did not confirm those details.

Tillerson did not elaborate on Warmbier's current health condition, and said he would not be offering additional comment out of respect for the family's privacy. The North Koreans "were informed that the airplane would land".

Regardless of how Warmbier's coma began, his prognosis could be grim, given that he has been in a state of unconsciousness for approximately a year. "He doesn't deserve this", Fred Warmbier told the Enquirer last month in an interview.

"In no uncertain terms North Korea must explain the causes of his coma", veteran former diplomat Bill Richardson said in a statement after speaking to Warmbier's parents.

During a government-arranged news conference in Pyongyang, which was held a month before the ruling was handed down, a tearful Warmbier pleaded for his release, saying he stole the banner because a member of his church offered to buy him a used vehicle in exchange.

It is good to have him returned to his family and to better medical care.

"Otto's detainment and sentence was unnecessary and appalling, and North Korea should be universally condemned for its abhorrent behavior".

Three other Americans remain in North Korean jails.

South Korea-born Kim Dong Chul, now aged around 63 or 64, was arrested in October 2015 on charges of espionage and other undisclosed crimes. With concern mounting over Warmbier's deteriorating condition since the State Department learned of it in early June, a delegation arrived in Pyongyang on June 12 that included a State Department representative and a medical team.



Popular
  • North Korea says leader Kim supervised test of new anti-ship missiles

    Fired from the eastern coastal city of Wonsan, the rockets landed in an area in the Sea of Japan where several U.S. This was a form of protesting South Korea's support of fresh United Nations sanctions adopted last week.
    Project Cars 2 release date announced

    Project Cars 2 release date announced

    The names, designs, and logos of all products are the property of their respective owners and used with permission. This seems to indicate a more free path for building up your career, starting from karts and working your way up.
    Brownsville library plans summer reading program

    Brownsville library plans summer reading program

    To pick up a registration card and program schedule, stop by the Youth Services desk starting on June 12. Registration for the summer programs began this week and will be available until Sat., July 1.
  • Japan adds more North Koreans to blacklist over weapons program

    Experts have consistently warned, however, that North Korea is slowly but surely working toward developing an ICBM . The trial was the first meant to replicate the flight profile of an ICBM that could be deployed by North Korea .

    French president says 8th death confirmed after London attacks

    Meanwhile, speaking at her house in Bologna, Italy, Zaghba's mother told the BBC she believed her son was radicalised in the UK. The Metropolitan Police says the body was found on Tuesday downstream near Limehouse from the bridge.
    Bombing in western Afghanistan kills 7

    Bombing in western Afghanistan kills 7

    He said that up to 11,000 foreign militants had allegedly arrived in Afghanistan in the last two years to fight for Daesh. The conference is being attended by the representatives of at least 27 countries worldwide.
  • Sony's PlayLink is a more social way to interact with games

    Sony's PlayLink is a more social way to interact with games

    PlayLink titles are created to be played in a group setting, allowing for a truly fun and dynamic experience. Other titles revealed to be coming include Frantics , Knowledge is Power and SingStar Celebration .

    London mayor tells AP he doesn't care about Trump tweets

    On Tuesday, the president's eldest child, Donald Trump Jr., appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America" in a pre-recorded interview . Khan said earlier this year Trump should be denied a state visit to Britain due to his "cruel and shameful" immigration policies.
    SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket launch scrubbed due to lightning

    SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket launch scrubbed due to lightning

    While SpaceX's Dragon capsule makes history in the sky, the pad from where it launches is also celebrating a little history. Shireman explained that NASA has a fixed price contract with SpaceX for these launches so it does not quite work like that.
  • Qatar willing to understand Gulf concerns, ready for dialogue: Kuwaiti FM

    Qatar willing to understand Gulf concerns, ready for dialogue: Kuwaiti FM

    Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain announced on Sunday that it had created hotlines to help mixed families with Qatari members. The Kuwaiti foreign minister said in the statement that his country is "determined to find a solution to the current dilemma".
    Dem. Biden urging Rep. Romney to run for Utah Senator

    Dem. Biden urging Rep. Romney to run for Utah Senator

    Earlier in the day Biden swore in the newly elected and returning members on the Senate floor. Hatch has said he hasn't made a decision, but might step aside if Romney gets in.
    Chris Sale has his worst game of the year against White Sox

    Chris Sale has his worst game of the year against White Sox

    While he gave up back-to-back dingers in a four-run second to dig a hole, the third inning encapsulates the frustration better. Former Chicago White Sox ace, Chris Sale , returns to the South side for a showdown against former teammate Jose Quintana .

CONNECT