North Korea releases US student, Tillerson says

North Korea releases US student, Tillerson says

North Korea believes its missile program is the only way to deter Washington from trying to overthrow the regime of Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un.

On arriving in Cincinnatti's Lunken airport, Warmbier was transferred to a waiting ambulance that took him to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for treatment, Fox News reported. "Dennis Rodman has nothing to do with the release of Mr. Warmbier", said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.

They also said they are grateful he "will finally be with people who love him". It is common for sections of tourist hotels to be reserved for North Korean staff and off-limits to foreigners. And how does the Trump administration respond?

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the State Department had "secured" Warmbier's release, adding that his agency was pushing for three more Americans imprisoned in North Korea to be freed.

The State Department is still investigating the North Korean version of events.

His release came during the first day of a visit to North Korea by former National Basketball Association star Dennis Rodman, who said he was "trying to open a door" to the reclusive state. "But we have issued travel warnings to Americans and suggested they not travel to North Korea for their own safety". Instead, he was apprehended on January 2, 2016 at the Pyongyang International Airport on charges of committing a "hostile act" against the state, as he was preparing to leave the country. It agreed to let Swedish diplomats visit the prisoners, and with news of Warmbier's dire condition, Pyongyang urgently requested a meeting with a top US official at the United Nations last week.

Regardless of how Warmbier's coma began, his prognosis could be grim, given that he has been in a state of unconsciousness for approximately a year. "No one", Fred Warmbier said.

Bill Richardson, a former diplomat who worked on previous negotiations with the hermit state, said: "In no uncertain terms North Korea must explain the causes of his coma".

Last week North Korean officials told Yun of Warmbier's medical condition.

In Tokyo, a visiting senior USA official said Rodman's trip is as a private citizen.

A plane carrying Warmbier returned to the United States on Tuesday night. He'd been in North Korea as part of a tour group. USA officials did not confirm those details.

Yun arrived on Monday, visited Warmbier with two doctors and demanded his release, the official said.

She tells reporters, "we are grateful and thankful" for Warmbier's release, but says it is "too soon" to talk about dialogue between the USA and North Korea. The last instruction the president left Tillerson was: "Take care of Otto", the official said. The 22-year-old contracted botulism last year and is in "bad shape", a source close to the family told CNN. State officials said that he was then given a sleeping pill and never woke up. His parents were told last week he had been in a coma for more than a year.

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.

"Sadly, he is in a coma and we have been told he has been in that condition since March 2016".

He was met by North Korean Vice Minister of Sports Son Kwang Ho.

Any visit to North Korea by a high-profile American is a political minefield.

Warmbier was supposed to graduate from the University of Virginia in May.

ANNA FIFIELD: I think the North Koreans have probably realized that they did need to get rid of Otto Warmbier at some stage, that he wasn't recovering, and they needed to hand him back.

"Otto's detainment and sentence was unnecessary and appalling, and North Korea should be universally condemned for its abhorrent behavior", said Republican Sen. But the nation still has three more Americans in its jails.

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