Amid diplomatic contact, North Korea frees American student

American student Otto Warmbier speaks to reporters in Pyongyang North Korea. Secretary of State Tillerson said Tuesday that North Korea released the jailed U.S. university student

American student Otto Warmbier speaks to reporters in Pyongyang North Korea. Secretary of State Tillerson said Tuesday that North Korea released the jailed U.S. university student

North Korea has released Otto Warmbier, a Cincinnati native serving a 15-year prison term for alleged anti-state acts, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced Tuesday. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson refused to provide details, though one official told The Post that the release had nothing to do with the latest freakish excursion to Pyongyang by former National Basketball Association player (and Trump reality-show contestant) Dennis Rodman.

Sentence: 15 years of hard labor, which started to take a severe toll on Bae's health.

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

May 2017: After Sweden is granted visitation rights to a detained American, the North Koreans urgently request to have an in-person meeting with the United States in New York City. North Koreans reportedly agreed to authorize the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang to pay a consular visit to all four detainees, according to the State Department -- although it is unclear if they were ever able to conduct that visit. North Korea does not have a sophisticated public diplomacy operation inside Western countries, but it also has no natural audience that it could expect to sway to its "side".

June 12: The North Koreans meet the American delegation in Pyongyang and upon arrival State Department representative Yun demands to visit Warmbier. A medical team and aircraft were organized, and North Korea was informed that a delegation would travel there.

It was not immediately clear if Rodman's visit to North Korea was purely coincidental with Warmbier's release. The State Department continues discussions with North Korea over three other Americans being detained in North Korea.

"We are heartened to hear of reports of the release of Otto Warmbier". Tillerson said the department would have no further comment on Warmbier and his condition, citing privacy concerns.

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.

Tillerson said the U.S. is discussing their respective cases with the North Korean regime. It was the first time the United States was able to confirm his status since he was sentenced. Warmbier's parents said in a statement Tuesday that he had been freed by the Communist state but had to be medically evacuated because he was in a coma.

Mr Warmbier was supposed to graduate from the university in May.

No details on his medical condition were immediately available Tuesday.

"The last 17 months have been an extremely hard and emotionally trying time for the Warmbier family", she said. "We are so grateful that he will finally be with people who love him".

"Otto's detainment and sentence was unnecessary and appalling, and North Korea should be universally condemned for its abhorrent behavior".

North Korea therefore has every incentive to release a prisoner when an arrangement is made, or risk its credibility in future negotiations.

Rep. Gerald Connolly, D-Va., called Warmbier's freedom "a long time coming" after facing "trumped-up charges". Warmbier is in a coma, his father tells NPR. As it is, his family has "had to endure more than any family should have to bear", as Sen. Speaking to reporters in Beijing before his arrival in Pyongyang on Tuesday, he said that the issue of several Americans detained by North Korea is "not my goal right now".

Previous detainees have been released after visits from high-profile Americans, including former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.

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