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American student Otto Warmbier released from North Korea, reportedly in a coma

American student Otto Warmbier released from North Korea, reportedly in a coma

Hours after his arrival, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced that North Korea had released an American student serving a 15-year prison term with hard labor for alleged anti-state acts.

PotCoin, a crypto currency for the legalized cannabis industry, jumped in value on Tuesday after ex-basketball star Dennis Rodman arrived in North Korea wearing a t-shirt and baseball cap emblazoned with the digital payment system's logo.

Mr Rodman is one of few people to have met both North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump.

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

Per WaPo, President Trump started efforts to evacuate Warmbier from the country once he became aware of his medical condition. He said Warmbier, 22, of Cincinnati, Ohio, was en route to the US, where he will be reunited with his family.

Tillerson, at a U.S. Senate hearing on Tuesday, declined to comment on Warmbier's condition.

"We get to see our son Otto tonight", Mr Fred Warmbier said.

Warmbier's parents said in a statement to The Associated Press that they were told their son has been in a coma since March 2016, and they had learned of this only one week ago.

"One thing we know is that Trump is transactional", said one person who works on North Korea issues, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the discussions.

But it also raised speculation that he might be going as an envoy to secure the release of Mr Warmbier and three other detained Americans, including former Virginia resident Kim Dong Chul who was arrested shortly after Mr Warmbier, on accusations of espionage.

A senior State Department official told CNN that the U.S. has not yet accepted the North Korean version of events in terms of the timing and cause of how Warmbier went into a coma. His current visit has already been roundly criticized by some for its timing, during high tensions between the USA and North Korea over its weapons programs and recent missile launches. Rodman has traveled to the isolated nation four times since 2013, attracting a lot of publicity, much of it unfavorable. He said he is "just trying to open a door" on a mission that he thinks his former "Celebrity Apprentice" boss would support.

A White House official says the May meeting in Oslo was attended by Joseph Yun, the USA envoy to North Korea. Such meetings are unusual because the two governments do not have diplomatic relations. Yun was then dispatched to North Korea and visited Warmbier with two doctors on Monday, and demanded his release on humanitarian grounds.

Tillerson added that discussions are still ongoing with North Korea "regarding three other USA citizens reported detained".

The U.S. government accuses North Korea of using such detainees as political pawns.

Following the May meeting in Oslo, North Korea urgently requested another meeting, which took place last week between the USA envoy on North Korea, Joseph Yun, and the North's ambassador at the U.N.in NY.

His entourage includes Joseph Terwilliger, a professor who has accompanied Rodman on previous trips to North Korea.

Rodman's arrival overlapped with his hosts freeing a comatose American college student they had imprisoned since January 2016 for stealing a propaganda poster.

Rodman has now been to North Korea five times, but he has come under heavy criticism for appearing to appease a man who leads a regime that is vowing a nuclear strike on the United States. He reportedly was detained for trying to remove a propaganda banner from his hotel. Their statement said Rodman is in the "very rare position to be able to claim long-time friendships" with both leaders.


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