American Student Freed By North Korea Arrives Home
Jun 18, 2017, 00:05
"How did he fall into a coma?"
South Korea on Wednesday welcomed the release of an American college student long detained in North Korea and vowed efforts to free its own citizens held in the communist country.
The announcement comes as former National Basketball Association superstar Dennis Rodman makes a return visit to the hermit kingdom where he has regularly enjoyed access to the country's top leadership, including Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un.
Police apprehended the student, identified only as 25-year-old Kim, Tuesday night for sending a homemade bomb to his professor's office at the engineering faculty building of the university in western Seoul earlier in the day.
Before his trial, Warmbier had said he tried to steal a propaganda banner as a trophy for an acquaintance who wanted to hang it in her church.
Late this month, Moon will visit the United States for talks with Trump on DPRK-related issues, including countering Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs, as well as ways to further strengthen the "ironclad U.S. -ROK alliance" and advance economic cooperation.
"They were looking at ways to do that and this was one of the instruments they were looking at, and the foreign ministry thought it was advisable to formally extend an invitation", he told AFP.
He was detained at Pyongyang's airport ahead of a flight to China. There, North Korean officials told Yun about Warmbier's condition. North Korea is not to be trusted, either in what it says or what it does.
The incident comes at a time of grave tensions on the Korean peninsula, with the Kim Jong-un regime signaling plans to top a series of missile launches with the test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) - and threatening nuclear retaliation for what it says is USA aggression. The North Koreans "were informed that the airplane would land, American and medical officials would get out".
At a news conference before his trial, a sobbing Warmbier said he had made "the worst mistake of my life" and pleaded to be released. They were immediately taken to Warmbier.
City councilwoman Jenni McCauley said the tight-knit community was "thrilled" to have Warmbier back.
On the release of Warmbir said Tuesday, June 13, U.S. Secretary Rex Tillerson.
North Korea says he has been in a coma for more than a year, after taking a sleeping pill while fighting food poisoning.
"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. USA officials in touch with Yun and medical personnel declined to say whether Warmbier remains in a coma or to make any comment on his current medical condition.
North Korean representatives at the United Nations did not respond to repeated requests for comment. He said that over the past 18 months, Warmbier's family has "had to endure more than any family should have to bear".
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".
Fred Warmbier said he does not know exactly what happened to his son during his detention.
"We are so incredibly joyful that he is finally coming home". Rodman, in an interview with CNN before landing in North Korea, said he was "trying to accomplish something we both need", referring to himself and the Trump administration. A former Virginia resident and naturalized American citizen, Kim Dong-chul, was arrested shortly after Warmbier on accusations of espionage, and was sentenced to 10 years.
Gary Locke, a former USA ambassador to China, has said that North Korea uses Americans in detention as "bargaining chips". The Ohio hospital where Otto was taken has said that he is in stable condition but suffered "severe neurological injury".
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