US Student Hospitalized After Return From NKorea

Ruben Ruiz
June 27, 2017

Otto Warmbier, an American student who was detained in North Korea in January 2016 and lapsed into coma in March soon after his trial, was released by the Pyongyang regime on humanitarian nrounds. "Sadly, he is in a coma and we have been told he has been in that condition since March of 2016", the parents told agencies.

Certainly Mr. Trump is aware of Mr. Rodman's visit, but the former athlete's trip doesn't have official backing.

Warmbier was released "at the direction of the president", Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement Tuesday, adding the department was continuing discussions with the North regarding three other American detainees.

USA officials refused to comment on his condition, but former ambassador and New Mexico governor Bill Richardson said he had spoken with the family. At least three other American citizens remain jailed in North Korea.

Richardson, a Democrat, credited the Department of State with securing Warmbier's return from North Korea without any preconditions but said a forceful response from the USA government would be required "if it's determined that there was a cover-up and Otto's condition was not disclosed and he didn't get proper treatment".

He appeared emotional at a news conference a month later, in which he tearfully confessed to trying to take the sign as a "trophy" for a U.S. church, adding: "The aim of my task was to harm the motivation and work ethic of the Korean people".

Mr Warmbier's release came as former USA basketball star Dennis Rodman arrived in North Korea on Tuesday, returning to the nuclear-armed country where he met leader Kim Jong-un on previous visits. He did not make it to Hong Kong. He was arrested in January 2016 and accused of trying to steal a propaganda poster from an employee area of his hotel.

Officials worked quietly as reporters and photographers watched from behind a fence.

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". Yun discussed the situation with Secretary of State Tillerson and President Trump, who sent him to North Korea to bring Warmbier home.

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"What an incredible day for one of our citizens who was held in North Korea for more than a year", Nauert said.

Warmbier had been serving a 15-year prison term. A plane carrying Warmbier arrived at a Cincinnati airport around 10:20 p.m. Tuesday.

America appeared to be on a collision course with China today after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned that the U.S. was considering imposing sanctions on countries that do business with North Korea.

The US condemned the sentence at the time, accusing North Korea of attempting to use Warmbier as a political pawn amid heightened tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.

But North Korea has so far rejected South Korean civic groups' bids to visit the North for exchanges, taking issue with South Korea's support of the latest United Nations sanctions. He also suggested that Obama simply pick up the phone and call the North Korean leader. This is the first time the Swedish diplomats were allowed to visit with Warmbier.

A Department of State spokeswoman said that out of respect for the privacy of Warmbier's family, "we have no further comment". The release occurred on June 13.

The U.S. announcement that came as former National Basketball Association player Dennis Rodman was paying a return visit to Pyongyang. However, nothing should be read into this coincidence, given the timeline of theTrump administration's own prior initiatives leading to the release.

However, before his arrival in Pyongyang, Rodman told reporters that pleading to free detained Americans is not the goal of his visit right now.

Other reports by GizPress

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