High-level U.S. visit leads North Korea to free student in coma

"He's smart in many ways; he's very street-wise".

What, if anything, substantive Rodman is doing in North Korea remains unclear.

The player nicknamed "The Worm" is one of the few Westerners to have met Kim, who took over following the death of his father Kim Jong-Il in 2011.

It came as American college student Otto Warmbier returned home to OH last night after being freed from a North Korean prison.

Otto Warmbier, 22, has been in a coma since shortly after his arrest in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, his parents said Tuesday.

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.

Numerous U.S. officials, however, are questioning North Korea's narrative.

USA student Otto Warmbier is escorted at the supreme court in Pyongyang, North Korea, in 2016. He has not been seen in public since he was sentenced in March 2016.

"In no uncertain terms North Korea must explain the causes of his coma", Bill Richardson, a veteran former diplomat and politician who has played a role in past negotiations with North Korea, said in a statement after speaking to Warmbier's parents.

North Korea says he has been in a coma for more than a year, after taking a sleeping pill while fighting food poisoning. Pyongyang assented, and preparations were made to bring Warmbier home.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed the release and said Washington remained in talks with the isolated regime "regarding three other USA citizens reported detained".

A White House official said Trump had instructed Tillerson to take all appropriate measures to secure the release of Americans held in North Korea. The family of Otto Warmbier said he was in a coma and was on a Medivac flight home. "We're just here to support Cindy and Fred and the family", Charlotte Simons said.

China welcomed former basketball star Dennis Rodman's visit to North Korea Wednesday, saying it supports efforts to build ties between Washington and Pyongyang.

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) - Dennis Rodman's visit to North Korea has been uncharacteristically low-key so far.

Rodman developed an unlikely relationship with the North Korean leader since making his first trip there in 2013. It's safe to say it stands up half-a-decade later.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who is widely forecast to inherit a so-called "Sunshine Policy" of trying to enhance relations with the DPRK through economic cooperation and civilian exchanges, has expressed his willingness to improve relations with the DPRK after being sworn in one month ago.

He added that because America has no trade with North Korea, the most effective way to impose pressure is through "secondary sanctions" that threaten companies from third countries with losing access to the USA market if they deal with Pyongyang.

But State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the visit "had nothing to do with the release". "I've not spoken with Dennis Rodman". Rodman had told reporters before arriving in Pyongyang that the issue of Americans detained by North Korea is "not my goal right now". Its opaque regime expresses its will through vast totalitarian spectacles and brazen, clandestine assassinations.

Leigh said he was detained in the room at Pyongyang's Sunan Airport for four days on charges of spying on North Korea military facilities. USA officials did not confirm those details. "We'll be relieved to have him home and are looking forward to surrounding him with people who love him".

Here's his latest foray into North Korean diplomacy.

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