Published: Wed, June 14, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Tillerson: North Korea releases US citizen Otto Warmbier

Tillerson: North Korea releases US citizen Otto Warmbier

Otto Warmbier, a USA university student held captive in North Korea for 17 months, has been released but a former U.S. official said on Tuesday he is in a coma and in urgent need of medical care.

His release was announced by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a statement on Tuesday afternoon. Rodman's trip caused a media frenzy because of the heightened tensions between North Korea and the United States, but also raised speculation that he might be going as an envoy to secure the release of Warmbier and three other Americans being detained.

The Washington Post reported that Warmbier had been medically evacuated and was in a coma.

"My goal is to actually to see if I can keep bringing sports to North Korea, so that's the main thing", said Rodman, who wore his familiar facial piercings and was escorted through customs and immigration by two handlers.

His plight came to global attention six weeks later, when he was shown giving a tearful confession in a North Korean courtroom, claiming he had stolen propaganda signage from his hotel.

"We want the world to know how we and our son have been brutalized and terrorized by the pariah regime in North Korean".

Sullivan said, "The UVA family will continue to keep the Warmbiers in our thoughts and prayers as Otto returns to the United States and his home where he will receive the care and support of those who love him". On this trip, he has already been roundly criticized by some for visiting during a time of high tensions between the US and North Korea over its weapons programs and recent missile launches.

According to ABC News, Tillerson's statement on Warmbier's release made no mention of Rodman's trip.

At the meeting, North Korea agreed that Swedish diplomats could visit all four American detainees, which at that time included Warmbier.

Mr Rodman befriended Kim during his first trip to the North Korea in 2013, when he famously sang Happy Birthday to the tyrant. A senior USA official also asserted that Rodman is to visit North Korea in an arranged, but not official trip, according to CNN. North Korea has released 22-year-old United States student Otto Warmbier from a 15 year sentence of hard labor, officials said June 13, 2017, as former U.S. basketball star Dennis Rodman arrived in Pyongyang.

News of Warmbier being freed comes on the same day former National Basketball Association star Dennis Rodman landed in North Korea to visit its leader, Kim Jong Un.

He was arrested on January 2, 2016, at Pyongyang Sunan International Airport on the last day of a five-day tour.

Critics slammed Rodman over his past trips, saying he allowed himself to be a public relations tool for North Korea. Rob Portman, who represents Warmbier's home state of Ohio. Rodman has said he practices "basketball diplomacy"; it is not clear whether he spoke on Warmbier's behalf. Thousands of US troops are based in South Korea, and the Demilitarized Zone between the North and South is one of the most heavily fortified borders in the world.

Mr Rodman appeared on Celebrity Apprentice when it was hosted by Donald Trump, and supported the Republican during the presidential race.

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