US State Secretary: North Korea Frees American Citizen

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The State Department says this was the first time the United States was able to confirm the status of the student since he was sentenced to hard labor as a result of what North Korea deemed "anti-state acts".

The State Department advises "strongly" against visits by US citizens to North Korea, noting that at least 16 Americans have been detained there over the last decade.

A military aircraft landed in Cincinnati late Tuesday night, bringing American student Otto Warmbier home from captivity in North Korea. Joseph Yun, the US special envoy on North Korea, met with North Korean officials in Oslo, Norway, in May and reached an agreement for Swedish diplomats to visit Warmbier.

Any visit to North Korea by a high-profile American is a political minefield, and Rodman has been criticized for failing to use his influence on leaders who are otherwise isolated diplomatically from the rest of the world.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said his agency had "secured" the 22-year-old's release in talks with North Korea and is pushing for three more Americans to be freed. "Arrangements were made for Warmbier to leave North Korea".

He was placed into an ambulance bound for the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where a hospital spokeswoman said he would receive treatment.

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Tillerson told U.S. senators at the start of a budget hearing that the State Department had no comment on Warmbier's condition "out of respect for him and his family".

SEOUL - Samsung Electronics Co.'s Galaxy smartphones received top ratings in a USA consumer smartphone review, with LG Electronics Inc.'s G6 also included in the top five, industry sources said Wednesday. "He doesn't deserve this", Fred Warmbier told the Enquirer last month in an interview.

Warmbier's parents hadn't heard from or seen him since he was sentenced to 15 years in prison at hard labor in March 2016 for attempting to steal a propaganda poster at the end of a five-day tour in North Korea.

Tillerson, at a U.S. Senate hearing on Tuesday, declined to comment on Warmbier's condition. Three Americans remain in custody. According to Warmbier's parents, their son was medically evacuated from North Korea in a coma, which he has reportedly been in for over a year after falling ill to botulism and then being given a sleeping pill. He is scheduled to meet North Korea's sports minister before he leaves the country on Saturday. Fowle left a Bible in a local club hoping a North Korean would find it, which is considered a criminal offense in North Korea.

"It was very North Korean", noted one pundit on CNN.

The university said in a statement that Kim, also known by the Chinese version of his name Jin Xue Song, was apprehended after concluding a trip to carry out "agricultural development work" at the school's "experimental farm".

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She also reiterated the State Department's travel advice against going to North Korea, with which the United States has no diplomatic relations.

Warmbier, 22, returned to the United States in a coma.

In April and May, North Korea detained two other Korean-Americans, both of them affiliated with the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, a private institution run by Korean-American Christians. "We'll be relieved to have him home and are looking forward to surrounding him with people who love him".

The 56-year-old NBA Hall of Famer, who was heavily criticized for failing to raise the plight of a jailed USA missionary on a previous trip, said discussing detained USA citizens was "not my goal right now".

The State Department announced Warmbier's release earlier Tuesday but gave no details on his condition. The announcement came shortly after former National Basketball Association player Dennis Rodman arrived in Pyongyang for a return visit to North Korea.

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