U.S. student freed from N. Korea in state of 'coma'

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20170613t142253z_831337738_rc1440695a90_rtrmadp_3_usanorthkoreadetainee

Despite the increasingly hostile US-North Korean relationship, the Warmbiers said they were encouraged by US President Donald Trump's willingness to improve relations with North Korea.

Tillerson did not elaborate on Warmbier's current health condition, and said he would not be offering additional comment out of respect for the family's privacy.

Visitors and medical personnel enter a transport plane carrying Otto Warmbier, a 22-year-old University of Virginia undergraduate student who was imprisoned in North Korea in March 2016, before he is transferred to an ambulan.

Former NBA player Dennis Rodman is now in North Korea, returning to the isolated nation to try to "open a door" with leader Kim Jong Un, he told reporters before his flight departed the Beijing airport yesterday.

American visitors have often been detained in North Korea on charges of anti-state and other unspecified crimes.

It was not immediately clear if Rodman's visit to North Korea was purely coincidental with Warmbier's release.

"Otto has left North Korea". The State Department said President Trump had been consulted. But efforts to persuade North Korea to release the men now held had not been successful until Warmbier's release Tuesday.

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

The witness also said North Korea authorities did not use force against him, but were tough.

He was met by North Korean Vice Minister of Sports Son Kwang Ho at the airport, saying then, "I'm just here to see some friends and have a good time".

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PYONGYANG, Korea, Democratic People's Republic Of - Dennis Rodman's visit to North Korea has been uncharacteristically low-key so far. They said they were grateful that their son, who was detained previous year while traveling as a tourist, would "finally be with people who love him".

"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.

Warmbier appeared emotional at a news conference organized by the North Koreans before his trial in March 2016.

Meanwhile, the ministry said that it has approved three more requests by local civic groups to contact North Koreans, raising the total to 21. Warmbier's family said in a statement that he is in a coma and on his way home.

Since taking office in January, U.S. President Donald Trump has faced a growing national security challenge from North Korea, which has conducted a series of ballistic missile tests in defiance of U.S. and global sanctions.

"We strongly suggest that Americans do not go to North Korea", Nauert said.

OTTO WARMBIER, Released North Korean Prison: I have made the worst mistake of my life.

It's unclear what is on Rodman's agenda, though he said in a statement, "I'm really looking forward to spending time with the wonderful people of North Korea and of course, visiting with the Supreme Leader, Kim Jong Un". Sweden represents US diplomatic interests in North Korea.

Warmbier would have graduated last month had he not been detained. Warmbier's release reduces the number of Americans held in the North to three - Kim Hak-song, Kim Sang-dok and Kim Dong-chul.

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