Medicine

Tillerson: North Korea Releases US Citizen Otto Warmbier

Tillerson: North Korea Releases US Citizen Otto Warmbier

Making this far worse is that Warmbier returned to the U.S.in a coma and has been in this state for 17 months. Three Americans remain in custody. Releasing a USA detainee in a yearlong coma may actually harden U.S. public opinion against North Korea. "Sadly, he is in a coma and we have been told he has been in that condition since March of 2016".

The Warmbier family gave the following statement to CNN, stating that not even they learned about his more than yearlong coma until one week ago, and condemning North Korea's "pariah regime".

"This has been an unimaginable, traumatic year for them", said Sara Kenny, University of Virginia Student Council President, about the Warmbier family.

In this February 29, 2016 file photo, American student Otto Warmbier speaks to reporters in Pyongyang, North Korea.

But on his final night in Pyongyang - New Year's Eve - Warmbier apparently went to a staff-only floor of his hotel and attempted to take down a large propaganda sign lauding the regime. The U.S. special representative for North Korea policy, Joseph Yun, traveled with doctors to Pyongyang on a military medical plane to bring Warmbier home, the report said.

Warmbier is a University of Virginia student from suburban Cincinnati.

American visitors have often been detained in North Korea on charges of anti-state and other unspecified crimes.

- American Sandra Suh was deported in April 2015 after being accused of making anti-North Korea propaganda while visiting the country.

Now, Warmbier's family has been told he suffered a bout of deadly botulism poisoning in March, took a sleeping pill and has been in a coma ever since.

Responding to a question from The Associated Press about whether Mr. Trump is aware of his visit, Mr. Rodman said, "Well, I'm pretty sure he's pretty much happy with the fact that I'm over here trying to accomplish something that we both need".

A North Korean foreign ministry official said Mr Warmbier was released and left the country on Tuesday morning. The State Department would not comment on Warmbier's condition, citing privacy concerns. The information, however, came from the North Korean government and has not yet been verified.

"Clearly we are engaged with our allies to ensure that they know where our common interests are".

At the meeting, North Korea agreed that Swedish diplomats could visit all four American detainees. The third is a businessman named Kim Dong Chul.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday the Republican president worked "very hard and very closely" with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Fred and Cindy Warmbier have been relentlessly pressing - first behind the scenes and then more publicly - for their son's release. "It's a delicate matter, he said".

But their fates have been hanging in the balance as Pyongyang and Washington have seen relations get testier in recent months.

North Korea and many United Nations members will strongly condemn such a USA response.

Early in the dictatorship of Kim Jong Un, North Korea called on its people to rally behind him and protect him as "human shields".

Republican Senator Rob Portman says North Korea should be "universally condemned for its abhorrent behavior". "Otto should have been released from the start", said US Sen.

Sitting in the shadow of the Rotunda, Kenny struggled to describe in words what she imagined it must be like for the Warmbier family.

The news came as flamboyant retired NBA basketball star Dennis Rodman - a former contestant on Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice" reality show - flew to Pyongyang to resume his quixotic quest to broker detente between his USA homeland and Kim Jong-un's authoritarian regime. But there is no connection between the two events, US National Security Council spokesman Michael Anton said.

The State Department said it secured his release at the direction of President Donald Trump.

How he was freed: Bill Richardson, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, was the first dignitary to go to North Korea on Bae's behalf, in January 2013.

It was not immediately clear if Mr Rodman's visit to North Korea was purely coincidental with Mr Warmbier's release. Warmbier's parents only heard from their son once during his incarceration, in a letter on March 2, 2016.

His case largely stayed quiet after that until May of this year, when his parents decided it was time to speak out.


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