High-level US visit leads North Korea to free student in coma

Bruno Cirelli
Giugno 15, 2017

The North has occasionally jailed USA citizens and released them only after visits by high-profile political figures, including former president Bill Clinton.

The State Department secured Warmbier's release at President Donald Trump's direction.

An American college student whose parents say has been in a coma while serving a 15-year prison term in North Korea was released and returned to the United States Tuesday as the Trump administration revealed a rare exchange with the reclusive country.

We said, at the time of Mr. Warmbier's arrest and conviction, that North Korea has a history of obtaining global prisoners who later can be used as political bargaining chips.

It radiotelescopio the Washington Post that since March a year ago their son is in a coma. "We're just here to support Cindy and Fred and the family", Charlotte Simons said. "We get to see our son Otto tonight". State officials said that he was then given a sleeping pill and never woke up.

Details of what Rodman plans to do there on his current visit remain elusive. The State Department said President Trump had been consulted. 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.

Tillerson consulted with Trump and arrangements were made for Yun and a medical team to travel to Pyongyang, the official said. His release brings the number of USA citizens known to be in detention in the hermetic communist dictatorship down to three.

"My goal is to actually see if I can keep bringing sports to North Korea, so that's the main thing", Rodman said on Tuesday in quotes reported by the BBC.

Rodman, who has previously described North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as his "friend for life", told CNN shortly before landing in North Korea that he hoped to achieve "something pretty positive" during the visit. Tillerson says the State Department continues discussing three other detained Americans with North Korea. In March 2016, a North Korean kangaroo court, after a one hour show trial, concluded, according to the state-run North Korean Central News Agency, 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".

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.

Currently, a total of six South Koreans are detained in North Korea, including several religious missionaries accused of treason or espionage.

The North has occasionally jailed United States citizens on charges ranging from hostile acts to illegal entry, and released them only after visits by high-profile figures including former president Bill Clinton. Sweden represents US diplomatic interests in North Korea.

He was sentenced in March 2016 after a televised tearful public confession to trying to steal a propaganda banner.

He had been on a stopover tour in North Korea, en route to Hong Kong, where he was going to study. Meshach Kanyion, pastor of the church in Wyoming, declined to comment Wednesday.

The announcement came shortly after former National Basketball Association player Dennis Rodman arrived in Pyongyang for a return visit to North Korea. Warmbier had been staying at the Yanggakdo International Hotel.

Mr Tillerson told the Senate foreign relations committee yesterday that it was time for the U.S. to work with other nations to deny the North access to supplies such as oil, amid fears that the regime is making progress toward a ballistic missile that could hit America.

When quizzed by reporters in Beijing while en route to the North, Rodman said that issue of Americans detained by Pyongyang was "not my goal right now".

Warmbier said he accepted the offer because his family was "suffering from very severe financial difficulties". He had also taught at the university. "Over the last 18 months, they have had to endure more than any family should have to bear", Portman said in a statement.

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