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US State Secretary: North Korea Frees American Citizen

US State Secretary: North Korea Frees American Citizen

He has not been seen in public since he was sentenced in March 2016.

Instead, the administration credited the release to its diplomatic intervention.

Lu said he has "consistently" welcomed and supported greater dialogue and contact between North Korea and the USA - as countries directly involved in the Korean Peninsula's nuclear issue - to increase mutual understanding and trust.

But Mr Tillerson's sanctions threat will up the stakes with China, North Korea's biggest partner, and Russian Federation, the rogue regime's other main supplier.

Such direct consultations between the two governments are rare.

His entourage includes Joseph Terwilliger, a professor who has accompanied Rodman on previous trips to North Korea. President Donald Trump has been promising to exert "maximum pressure" on North Korea to make it abandon its nuclear weapons program, but has also dangled the prospect of talks with Kim, whom he called a "smart cookie". Three Americans remain in custody.

The plane carrying Otto Warmbier has landed in Cincinnati, Ohio, local media reported later the same day. Warmbier was released by North Korea, where he was serving a 15-year prison term with hard labor for alleged anti-state acts.

"At the direction of the president, the Department of State has secured the release of Otto Warmbier from North Korea".

Warmbier said before his trial that he tried to steal the propaganda poster as a trophy for an acquaintance, who offered him a used vehicle worth $13,200 in exchange for the item. Warmbier's parents said they learned of their son's condition "only one week ago".

"This system imposes unduly harsh sentences for actions that would not be considered crimes in the United States and threatens US citizen detainees with being treated in accordance with 'wartime law of the DPRK'".

The State Department announced Warmbier's release earlier Tuesday but gave no details on his condition. "We want the world to know how we and our son have been brutalized and terrorized by the pariah regime in North Korea".

They also said they are grateful he "will finally be with people who love him".

"The Department of State continues to have discussions with the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] regarding three other US citizens reported detained", the statement said. On the same trip, he suggested an American missionary was at fault for his own imprisonment in North Korea, remarks for which he later apologized.

As the Americans continued to push for the Swedish diplomats to see all four, North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations urgently requested a meeting with Yun in NY, according to Trump administration officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity about the still-secret arrangements. The State Department said President Trump had been consulted. Yun and two physicians flew to Pyongyang and visited Warmbier Monday. Warmbier was evacuated Tuesday.

While traveling in Tokyo, Thomas Shannon Jr., the USA undersecretary of state for political affairs, said Rodman was not acting in any official capacity.

This is the first time the Swedish diplomats were allowed to visit with Warmbier.

"I'm just trying to open the door", the eccentric ex-Chicago Bulls power forward told reporters at Beijing airport before boarding his Air Koryo flight. "My objective is to go over there and try to see if I can keep bringing sports to North Korea".

North Korea on Tuesday freed one of the detainees, Otto Warmbier.

In the past, North Korea has held out until senior USA officials or statesmen came to personally bail out detainees.

"Otto has been in a coma for over a year now and urgently needs proper medical care in the United States", said Richardson, who has previously served as a special envoy to North Korea and still works on prisoner issues.

The U.S. announcement that came as former National Basketball Association player Dennis Rodman was paying a return visit to Pyongyang. He worked at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. Moon - a liberal who has historically worked for rapprochement, rather than confrontation, with the North - was critical of some aspects of USA policy in the region ahead of his election.