Family says US college student released by NKorea is in coma

In March 2016, North Korea's highest court sentenced Warmbier to 15 years in prison with hard labor for subversion as he tearfully confessed that he had tried to steal a propaganda banner.

Warmbier is a University of Virginia student from suburban Cincinnati. Earlier this week, he was medically evacuated from North Korea, and will return home on Tuesday, but the circumstances around his medical situation and release are still unclear. Here is the timeline.

Sen. Rob Portman of OH said in a statement that Tillerson had confirmed to him Warmbier's release.

Fred and Cindy Warmbier said in a statement to The Associated Press that their son is in a coma and flying home. A North Korean foreign ministry official confirmed that Warmbier was released and left the country Tuesday morning.

There are now three American citizens being held in North Korea. He told reporters in Beijing, as he departed for Pyongyang, that he hopes his trip will "open a door" for Trump.

University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier, who had been detained in North Korea for 17 months, was set to arrive home in Cincinnati on Tuesday night in a coma - a relief to his family but a harbinger of more difficulties in the already tense relationship between Pyongyang and Washington. The arrests in April and May brought the total to four Americans being held in North Korea. "We learned of this only one week ago", said Fred and Cindy Warmbier in a statement.

Secretary of State Tillerson said the State Department is continuing to discuss three other detained Americans with North Korea.

Yun's trip was the highest-level United States 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.

It was not immediately clear if Rodman's visit to North Korea was purely coincidental with Warmbier's release. The North Koreans agreed and he was flown out on Tuesday, the official said.

"All we know so far is what they have told us", a State Department official said. "For North Korea to imprison Otto with no notification or consular access for more than a year is the utmost example of its complete failure to recognize fundamental human rights and dignity".

Instead of helping the chances of possible talks to curb North Korea's nuclear weapons program, the release of Warmbier may have strengthened North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's hand.

A statement issued in NY by a Rodman publicist said the former National Basketball Association player is in the rare position of being friends with the leaders of both North Korea and the United States.

He was charged with "hostile acts against the state", and after an hour-long trial in March, 2016, sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labour.

When asked whether he had spoken with President Trump about his trip, Rodman said: "I'm pretty sure he's pretty much happy with the fact that I'm over here trying to accomplish something that we both need".

He was in North Korea as a tourist with Young Pioneer Tours when he was arrested on 2 January 2016.

In a statement confirming the news, Ohio Senator Rob Portman denounced Warmbier's imprisonment in the first place. Kim Hak-song, who was detained in May, also worked in the same university as Kim.

— South Korean-born USA citizen Kim Dong Chul, who was sentenced in April 2016 to 10 years in prison with hard labor after being convicted of espionage.

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