Dennis Rodman returns to North Korea hoping 'to open the door'

Vincent Carr
June 20, 2017

Yun discussed the situation with Secretary of State Tillerson and President Trump, who sent him to North Korea to bring Warmbier home.

Otto Warmbier arrived in North Korea in December 2015 as part of a tour group.

Mr Warmbier was carried off a medical transport plane that landed in Cincinnati and was having treatment at a hospital in the city today. The 22-year-old was then taken by ambulance to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

Besides Warmbier, who was accused of trying to steal a propaganda banner at a staff-only floor of his hotel, three other USA citizens are held by North Korea for similar antistate charges. "Everybody feels a sense of relief that he is coming back to the United States", said Amy Mayer. "I think we're very excited yet very prayerful about what is happening because we've heard he is in a coma". It touches a lot of people in our community in a variety of ways.

United States officials refused to comment on his condition, but former ambassador and New Mexico governor Bill Richardson said he had spoken with the family. The North Korean government reportedly arranged a limited press conference that was covered by South Korea's Yonhap News Agency and China's state-run Xinhua.

Officials involved in securing Warmbier's release told The Washington Post that it had nothing to do with Rodman's trip to Pyongyang, calling it a "bizarre coincidence" that might have been a deliberate ploy from North Korea to distract from Warmbier's condition.

However, on Wednesday, Rodman visited a women's basketball team and the birthplace of North Korea's founder Kim Il-sung.

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A student at the University of Virginia, he had flown to North Korea that January as a tourist.

In a tearful statement made before his trial, Warmbier told a gathering of reporters in Pyongyang he was offered a used vehicle worth $10,000 if he could get a propaganda banner and was also told that if he was detained and didn't return, $200,000 would be paid to his mother in the form of a charitable donation. His parents say he's on a Medivac flight on his way home.

We learn from this that the Trump administration has standard diplomatic channels to North Korea, and that the North Korean government uses those channels and wants to keep lines open by making appropriate humanitarian gestures like the repatriation of Mr. Warmbier.

"We thank you for the opportunity and blessing you've given us to serve your agenda and the American people", said Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, who reports suggest may be at risk of losing his job amid internal palace squabbles. Tensions between the United States and North Korea have been high since Donald Trump took office in January 2017. The official referred to them as "hostages". A team was dispatched to Pyongyang and the sick University of Virginia student was handed over to US officials. But State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters Rodman had nothing to do with Warmbier's release.

His four past trips in 2013 and 2014 generated a storm of publicity, most of it unfavorable, and did little in terms of diplomacy. "My objective is to go over there and try to see if I can keep bringing sports to North Korea".

Foreign detainees in North Korea have previously recanted confessions, saying they were made under pressure. A 2009 visit by former President Bill Clinton secured the freedom of American journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling.

The three other US citizens detained in North Korea are Kim Hak-song, an agricultural researcher at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology; Tony Kim (aka Kim Sang-duk), an accounting teacher from the same school; and Kim Dong-chul, a businessman.

Other reports by BadHub

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