Former NBA player Dennis Rodman arrives in North Korea

Laura Christensen
June 27, 2017

"The Department of State continues to have discussions with the DPRK regarding three other USA citizens reported detained", Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement this morning.

The curious timing of Warmbier's return to Cincinnati is nearly as startling as Rodman's continued flirtation with Kim and his Communist regime. Resident Amy Mayer says news of his release has sent waves of shock and joy through the neighborhood.

A US citizen who is being held in North Korea on charges of "hostile acts" against the Kim Jong Un regime may actually have faced different charges at the time of his arrest, according to an eyewitness. Global negotiations on the dispute over North Korea's nuclear program have been in limbo for years, as the US cranks up economic sanctions and North Korea won't give up weapons it considers a guarantee against invasion.

Warmbier had been serving a 15-year prison term.

The 22-year-old was medically evacuated after a US State Department's special envoy to North Korea Joseph Yun travelled to Pyongyang and demanded the young man be released on "humanitarian grounds".

Fred and Cindy Warmbier told in the statement that "Otto has left North Korea". 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.

Nauert would not say anything about Warmbier's health because of privacy concerns.

Warmbier's parents, Fred and Cindy, confirmed their son was on a medevac flight, which was due to arrive on Tuesday evening US time.

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They also expressed their relief that their son would "finally be with people who love him".

Warmbier hails from Cincinnati, and Ohio's two senators both welcomed his release, while condemning his captors. He said that over the past 18 months, Warmbier's family has "had to endure more than any family should have to bear".

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

The official, who was not authorized to speak on the record about the sequence of events and requested anonymity, said that after Tillerson consulted with Trump, Yun was dispatched to North Korea.

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.

Asked whether the U.S. wanted to see an Iran-style global embargo to deny exports of petroleum and other products to North Korea, Mr Tillerson said that this would only work if Russian Federation and China co-operated. My objective is to go over there and try to see if I can keep bringing sports to North Korea. He said he would "discuss my mission upon return to the US".

The Warmbiers have been pressing - first behind the scenes and then more publicly - for their son's release. Obviously it's weird that he would contract it just after he was sentenced to fifteen years hard labour by the North Korean state, but there's not a whole lot else to go off right now.

The news of Warmbier's release comes the same day as basketball star Dennis Rodman arrived in Pyongyang for an expected four-night visit. USA officials then urged those with the ability to persuade Pyongyang to ratchet up the pressure to get him released, said a source, who is familiar with the government's efforts. He flew home Tuesday in a coma-like state, according to some media reports. His parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier, said their son has been in a coma since March 2016. "This is a Trump-led effort", one said.

Other reports by My Hot News

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