Travel to North Korea Could Be Banned for Americans, Rex Tillerson Says

"U.S. citizens in the DPRK are at serious risk of arrest and long-term detention under North Korea's system of law enforcement". He opens his eyes and blinks spontaneously but shows no signs of understanding language or responding to verbal commands, said Dr. Daniel Kanter, professor of neurology and director of the Neurocritical Care Program. "He has not spoken". His parents found out he was in a coma just a week before he was released, something Fred Warmbier said threw him into a state of "shock".

He excelled in academics, graduating from Wyoming High School in 2013 as his class salutatorian and getting a scholarship to the University of Virginia.

Otto Warmbier is in stable condition at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center with his mother by his side, hospital spokeswoman Kelly Martin said.

However, it wasn't long before the Warmbiers released that strategy was not working.

That didn't stop Woolston from taking the shots that captured the world's attention this week, a series of photos which show Warmbier, held as a prisoner in North Korea for 17 months, being carried off the plane without the use of a stretcher. Doctors treating the students said the cause of brain damage remains unknown.

Asked what he would say if he could speak directly to North Korean regime, Fred Warmbier replied: "I would say I'm so proud of Otto, my son, who has been in a pariah regime for the last 18 months, brutalised and terrorised, and he's now home with his family".

"This pattern of brain injury is usually seen as result of cardiopulmonary arrest where blood supply to (the) brain is inadequate for a period of time, resulting in the death of brain tissue", Kanter said.

They have had no direct contact with North Korean medical authorities, Kanter said, but Warmbier arrived with two brain scans dated April and July 2016.

One reporter followed up on this point, asking if the past administration could have done more to secure Otto's release.

Otto Warmbier, sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for "anti-state" crimes that amounted to trying to steal a poster from a hotel, learned this lesson the hard way.

His son went to North Korea as part of a group tour arranged by a China-based company.

Warmbier's parents were told their son was given a sleeping pill soon after his trial in March previous year but never woke up.

Otto Warmbier, 22, has been in "a state of unresponsive wakefulness" since arriving at an OH hospital after what North Korean officials said was more than a year in a coma, doctor Daniel Kanter said. The state-run Korean Central News Agency on Thursday didn't comment on his medical condition.

On Thursday, the State Department said that its special envoy on North Korea, Joseph Yun, who negotiated Warmbier's release during a visit to the country this week, had also met with three other USA citizens being held in North Korea.

"The day after he was sentenced, he went into a coma", the father said in an interview scheduled to air Thursday night.

Mr. Warmbier was strongly critical of the Obama administration's handling of his son's case, however. He says efforts to get Warmbier home never ceased. "We've worked with Governor Richardson".

Warmbier made it clear he does not believe North Korea's explanation of botulism combined with a sleeping pill for Otto's condition.

Such detentions in the totalitarian nation have added to tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.

  • Larry Hoffman