The news of Warmbier's release comes the same day as basketball star Dennis Rodman arrived in Pyongyang for an expected four-night visit. North Korean state media had previously released a freaky video of Warmbier's apparent confession, where he tearfully apologized for the crime. Yun immediately demands the North Koreans release Warmbier on humanitarian grounds and arrangements are made for him to leave North Korea.
US student Otto Warmbier.
Such direct consultations between the two governments are rare.
It was not immediately clear if Rodman's visit to North Korea was purely coincidental with Warmbier's release. Worldwide negotiations on the dispute over North Korea's nuclear program have been in limbo for years, as the USA cranks up economic sanctions and North Korea won't give up weapons it considers a guarantee against invasion. One month later, he was sentenced to prison. Three Americans remain in custody.
Tillerson said that the State Department arranged for Warmbier's release at President Donald Trump's direction, and that they were looking to bring back three other Americans now being held in North Korea.
"Our son is coming home", Fred Warmbier told The Post on Tuesday morning after Otto Warmbier was evacuated. Three other US citizens are being held by the regime, including two who were teaching at a private school and one who worked in a special economic zone. State Department officials are accompanying Otto Warmbier from Sapporo to Cincinnati.
In a statement confirming the news, Ohio Senator Rob Portman denounced Warmbier's imprisonment in the first place.
University president Teresa Sullivan said in a statement that the school is relieved to hear Mr Warmbier was released, but is concerned about his condition. "We are so grateful that he will finally be with people who love him".
Lawmakers from Virginia also hailed Warmbier's release and denounced North Korea of its actions. The official referred to them as "hostages".
On Tuesday, Warmbier was evacuated from North Korea, accompanied by a medical team and a State Department representative.
The U.S. government condemned the sentence and accused North Korea of using such American detainees as political pawns.
Yun then met last week with the North Korean ambassador at the U.N.in NY, where Yun learned about Warmbier's condition. There, Yun learned about Warmbier's "condition", the White House official said. The official spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because no formal statement had been released.
There were few updates to Warmbier's case following the sentencing, although after he passed one year of imprisonment, his parents began to express their frustration with the slow process of getting their son released in numerous interviews this past spring. Rodman has traveled to the isolated nation four times previously. "For North Korea to imprison Otto with no notification or consular access for more than a year is the utmost example of its complete failure to recognize fundamental human rights and dignity". He is looking to increase economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea, with help from China, but has said he's open to meeting Kim.
In the past, North Korea has held out until senior USA officials or statesmen came to personally bail out detainees, all the way up to former President Bill Clinton, whose visit in 2009 secured the freedom of American journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling.
Previous detainees have been released after visits from high-profile Americans, including former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. The State Department continues discussions with North Korea over three other Americans being detained in North Korea. He worked at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology.
Sentence: 15 years of hard labor, though he has been in a coma for the past year.