US, NK officials ahead of student's release

Fred and Cindy Warmbier, the parents of Otto Warmbier, stand in their home in Wyoming, Ohio, April 26, 2017.June 12, 2017 North Korean officials met the American delegation in Pyongyang, the State Department said. They said they were grateful their son would "finally be with people who love him".

After nearly a year and a half in a North Korean prison, a University of Virginia student is coming home, though reportedly in a coma.

On Tuesady morning, Tillerson reported to Trump that Warmbier is on the way home, and the last instruction Trump gave was: "Take care of Otto", the paper quoted a senior administration official as saying. He was accused of committing unspecified criminal acts meant to overthrow the government. He was sentenced in March 2016 to 15 years of hard labor after being accused of stealing a sign at a hotel in Pyongyang, the capital.

He had not been seen in public since, and Swedish diplomats, representing USA interests, had been denied consular access to him.

The U.S. government has not yet confirmed North Korea's claims that Warmbier is suffering from botulism. Officials involving with securing Warmbier's release told The Washington Post that Rodman had nothing to do with it.

Tillerson called Trump at 8:35 a.m. Tuesday to inform him that Warmbier was on an airplane en route to the United States, an official said. U.S. officials then urged those with the ability to persuade Pyongyang to ratchet up the pressure to get him released, said a source, who is familiar with the government's efforts.

Otto Warmbier (WORM'-bir), whose parents say is in a coma, arrived at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center late Tuesday night.

"All we know so far is what they have told us", the official said. The article noted there was no way of knowing yet whether the North Korean version of events was accurate.

(ENGLISH) "We continue our discussions with the North Korean regime regarding the release of the other three American citizens that have been detained". The third is a businessman named Kim Dong Chul.

The State Department did not comment beyond Tillerson's brief announcement. The U.S., which has no trade with the North, can only apply economic pressure on the regime through secondary sanctions that prevent target entities from accessing the lucrative U.S. market.

But their fates have been hanging in the balance as Pyongyang and Washington have seen relations get testier in recent months.

During a tearful court appearance in February 2016, Warmbier apologized for his actions in North Korea. North Korea accuses Washington and South Korea of sending spies to overthrow its government. He said working toward their release is "not my goal right now", reported the Associated Press.

Warmbier was to have graduated last month had he not been detained.

Warmbier was freed on the same day former National Basketball Association star Dennis Rodman landed in North Korea to visit its leader, Kim Jong Un.

When asked if he had spoken to President Donald Trump, Rodman responded, "I'm pretty sure he's happy at the fact that I'm over here trying to accomplish something that we both need".

(AP Photo/John Minchillo). Alison Lebrun helps tie blue-and-white awareness ribbons along Springfield Pike near the family home of Otto Warmbier, a 22-year-old University of Virginia undergraduate student who was imprisoned in North Korea in March 2016. "My goal is to go over there and try to see if I can keep bringing sports to North Korea".

He added, "I wish that the United States administration never manipulate people like myself in the future to commit crimes against foreign countries".

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