Dennis Rodman returns to North Korea hoping 'to open the door'

North Korea releases US citizen Otto Warmbier

As North Korea maintains a relentless quest to develop a missile capable of reaching the United States mainland and has conducted a number of nuclear tests this year, Warmbier's release is as confounding as it is welcomed. He said Warmbier, of Cincinnati, was en route to the U.S.

Warmiber, a third-year commerce and economics student at the University of Virginia, was put on trial for "hostile acts against the state" after being accused of trying to steal a propaganda poster from his hotel room during a visit to the Stalinist-ruled country early last year. Shortly before sentencing, was held a press-conference at which Warmbir, not hiding tears, asked forgiveness of the North Korean people, calling the attempt to steal the poster "the most bad mistake in life".

The Warmbier family said North Korean officials told the US envoys that soon after his trial in March 2016, their son reportedly became sick with botulism, an illness caused by a toxin, and fell into a coma after being given a sleeping pill, according to the Post. "We learned of this only one week ago".

They said: "We want the world to know how we and our son have been brutalised and terrorised by the pariah regime" in North Korea. Most recently in 2014 he attracted a deluge of criticism after being filmed singing happy birthday to his "friend for life", leader Kim Jong-Un. Sweden represents US diplomatic interests in North Korea.

While traveling in Tokyo, Thomas Shannon Jr., the US undersecretary of state for political affairs, said Rodman was not acting in any official capacity.

Since taking office in January, U.S. President Donald Trump has faced growing tensions with North Korea, which has conducted a series of ballistic missile tests in defiance of U.S. and worldwide sanctions.

Warmbier, 22, returned to the United States in a coma. Yun demanded his release and North Korea complied on Tuesday, according to the State Department. "But I am not going to characterize what their son may have been through or may not have been through, so I'm just going to have to refer you to the family right now". Tillerson said the department would have no further comment on Warmbier and his condition, citing privacy concerns. The North Koreans agreed and he was flown out on Tuesday, the official said.

Officials could not immediately confirm USA media reports that Warmbier had fallen into a coma during his incarceration. "Arrangements were made for Warmbier to leave North Korea".

Sen. Rob Portman confirmed the release but did not comment on Warmbier's health.

Warmbier was a University of Virginia student when he made a decision to go to North Korea with a tour group. But efforts to persuade North Korea to release the men now held had not been successful until Warmbier's release Tuesday.

"Our son is coming home", Fred Warmbier said to The Washington Post on Tuesday morning after his son was evacuated.

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.

Warmbier visited North Korea on an "adventure tour" organized by a China-based company specializing in budget trips to the reclusive country.

The State Department says former National Basketball Association star Dennis Rodman, who is visiting North Korea, had nothing to do with the release of a detained American college student.

She said US officials had a hard time getting information about Warmbier from North Korea.

"This system imposes unduly harsh sentences for actions that would not be considered crimes in the United States and threatens USA citizen detainees with being treated in accordance with 'wartime law of the DPRK'".

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".

- South Korean-born USA citizen Kim Dong Chul, who was sentenced in April 2016 to 10 years in prison with hard labor after being convicted of espionage.

A Korean-Canadian arrested in February 2015, Hyeon Soo Lim, also remains incarcerated there.



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