North Korea: Otto Warmbier Released In a Coma

Alvin Kelly
June 14, 2017

The US secretary of state said the 22-year-old was on his way home to the US.

News of the University of Virginia student's medical condition came on the heels of his release.

The Post reports that a senior administration official explained that Tillerson called President Donald Trump around 8:35 a.m. on Tuesday to tell him that Warmbier was on an airplane headed for the United States and is being accompanied by State Department officials. It said he had been in that condition for a year. "Our son is coming home", Fred Warmbier told The Washington Post on Tuesday.

"In no uncertain terms North Korea must explain the causes of his coma", Richardson, whose Center for Global Engagement had directly sought Warmbier's release with the North Korean government, said in a statement. "We get to see our son Otto tonight".

The news of Warmbier's release comes the same day as basketball star Dennis Rodman arrived in Pyongyang for an expected four-night visit.

Yun's trip was the highest-level US visit since then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper travelled to North Korea in 2014 to secure the release of two Americans, Kenneth Bae and Matthew Todd Miller, who had been sentenced to hard labour. But Rodman - nicknamed "The Worm" for his wild wriggling when playing pinball - told reporters before jetting off from Beijing airport on Tuesday that he is "just trying to open a door" between the two nations.

Sometime afterward, North Korea then urgently requested an in-person meeting with the United States in New York City, the State Department said.

A congressional aide familiar with the process said Tillerson was adamant that Yun participate in the meetings only under the precondition that the Americans who were detained be the focus of the agenda and that a pathway was laid out for their release.

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The controversy surrounding Rodman's past trips to North Korea eventually became too hot to handle for Paddy Power, his previous sponsor. He's one of the only Americans to have met current North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, CNN notes.

Rodman has met Kim on some but not all of his previous trips.

I never, never should have allowed myself to be lured by the United States administration to commit a crime in this country, I wish that the United States administration never manipulate people like myself in the future to commit crimes against foreign countries.

North Korea regularly accuses Washington and Seoul of sending spies to overthrow its government to enable the US -backed South Korean government to take control of the Korean Peninsula.

SEOUL - South Korea's household debt growth slowed slightly in May, data showed Wednesday, but financial authorities said they will make more efforts to stabilize the pace of growth.

There was no immediate confirmation from US officials of North Korea's description of his illness - including whether he was stricken with botulism, a potentially fatal disease that is caused by a toxin but is not usually associated with loss of consciousness.

Rodman may have played an important part in gaining the released of American missionary Kenneth Bae in 2014. He was later charged with "hostile acts against the state" and was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in March. Yun was then dispatched to North Korea and visited Warmbier with two doctors on Monday, and demanded his release on humanitarian grounds.

Kim Jong Un's father revealed a few years ago that he was a major Michael Jordan fan during his Chicago Bulls days, even owning VHS tapes of all his games for the Bulls.

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