Pyongyang releases USA student as Rodman kicks off non-official visit

A military airplane carrying Otto Warmbier landed in his hometown of Cincinnati shortly before 10:20 pm (0220 GMT Wednesday), CBS News reported.

Warmbier's parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier, said he was in a coma and was flying home.

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. He was sentenced in March after a televised tearful public confession to trying to steal a propaganda banner.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the State Department had "secured" Warmbier's release, adding that his agency was pushing for three more Americans imprisoned in North Korea to be freed.

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) - Dennis Rodman, the former National Basketball Association bad boy who has palled around with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, began sightseeing in Pyongyang on Wednesday during a trip he said he hoped would "open a door" for his former "Celebrity Apprentice" boss - President Donald Trump.

Things took an interesting turn on Tuesday, when news broke that an American college student who had been detained in North Korea for 17 months was being medically evacuated from the country.

There are three other Americans now being held in North Korea.

"FILE â€" In this February 29, 2016 file photo, American student Otto Warmbier speaks to reporters in Pyongyang, North Korea.

North Korea's first private university, PUST was founded and remains operated by actors outside the country, mostly Evangelical Christian organizations.

United States student Otto Warmbier has been freed from jail in North Korea, 13 months after being sentenced to 15 years of hard labour. Rodman had tweeted in May 2013 that he wanted Kim to "cut Kenneth Bae loose", referring to the South Korean-born USA citizen imprisoned with 15 years' hard labor at the time.

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A senior administration official said the Trump administration did not authorize Rodman's trip.

The United States had accused the North of using Warmbier as a political pawn, and condemned the sentence as far out of proportion to his alleged crime.

"We want the world to know how we and our son have been brutalized and terrorized by the pariah regime in North Korean. In no uncertain terms, North Korea must explain the causes of his coma". The White House has responded at various times with tough talk and warnings that Washington's "strategic patience" with Pyongyang is now at an end.

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".

"Otto has left North Korea", his parents said in a statement to CNN. It is common for sections of tourist hotels to be reserved for North Korean staff and off-limits to foreigners. He flew home Tuesday in a coma-like state, according to some media reports.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert later said Rodman "had nothing to do with" Warmbier's release.

Mr. Rodman is a Hall of Fame professional basketball player who formed a personal relationship with the diminutive North Korean dictator Kim several years ago, traveling to North Korea to give basketball demonstrations.

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said, "It's clear that Pyongyang has committed a grave injustice against Otto and his family, and the news that he may be returning with a serious medical problem raises concerns about what happened to him in North Korean custody".

Following the May meeting in Oslo, North Korea urgently requested another meeting, which took place last week between the US envoy on North Korea, Joseph Yun, and the North's ambassador at the U.N.in NY.

A small group of family friends was nearby to celebrate Warmbier's arrival, cheering and holding signs that read "Pray for Otto" and 'Welcome home Otto'. A 2009 visit by former President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, secured the freedom of American journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling.

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