Tillerson: North Korea releases Ohio native Otto Warmbier
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 14, 2017,
Jun 14, 2017, 6:48
Secretary of State Rex TIllerson says the State Department is working to secure release for three additional USA citizens being detained in North Korea.
University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier has been medically evacuated from North Korea in a coma after being detained for 17 months, his parents told The Washington Post on Tuesday. He had been sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.
It posted a statement on its website touting its association with the "historic trip", saying Rodman is in "the very rare position to be able to claim long-time friendships" with both North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Trump.
In 2014, Rodman arranged a basketball game with other former NBA players and North Koreans and regaled leader Kim with a rendition of "Happy Birthday". "He has to do his job", Rodman said of Kim in a press conference defending his visit.
Kim Jong Un reportedly is a fan of the National Basketball Association, especially the Chicago Bulls teams that Rodman played on in the late 1990s. "We are so grateful that he will finally be with people who love him". "Mr. Warmbier is en route to the United States, where he will be reunited with his family".
The bombastic player - who once wore a wedding dress to promote one of his books - also knows Trump, having appeared as a contestant on his reality television show "Celebrity Apprentice". Mr Rodman played a key role in winning three National Basketball Association titles for them in the 1990s.
Any visit to North Korea by a high-profile American is a political minefield.
Rodman is undertaking the trip as a private citizen, despite a USA advisory against travel to the secretive country and amid tension over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile tests.
While in North Korea, the 22-year-old contracted botulism and is in "bad shape" but is now en route back to the United States, a source close to the family revealed to CNN.
North Korea is often portrayed by pro-marijuana websites and magazines to be a stoner's paradise, where pot is legal and may be freely purchased.
Rodman is heading to North Korea later Tuesday from Beijing.
Tensions have escalated on the Korean peninsula over North Korea's nuclear and missile tests and its vow to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the U.S. mainland, presenting U.S. President Donald Trump with perhaps his most pressing security worry.
North Korea and the Unites States aren't friends.
He has referred to his previous trips to North Korea as "basketball diplomacy".
Mr Rodman said that the objective of this trip "is to actually to see if I can keep bringing sports to North Korea".
Rodman, wearing a shirt advertising PotCoin, the online currency used to buy and sell legal marijuana, promoted and thanked the group for sponsoring the trip before saying that he iss making the trip so that "the door can be a little bit open" between the us and North Korea.