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

Dennis Rodman

Dennis Rodman

Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years hard labor in 2016 for allegedly committing "hostile acts" against the North Korean regime.

Tillerson said the State Department secured his release at Trump's direction, and a spokeswoman was firm in saying Rodman's trip had nothing to do with Warmbier's release.

Otto Warmbier (WORM'-bir), who had been serving a 15-year prison term, was freed and evacuated from North Korea on Tuesday, as Rodman arrived in the reclusive country.

"Otto has been in a coma for over a year now and urgently needs proper medical care in the United States", said Bill Richardson, a veteran former diplomat and politician who has played a role in past negotiations with North Korea, said after speaking to Warmbier's parents.

Warmbier's family said in a statement that he is in a coma and on his way home. 'The journey for them has been very hard, to say the least, and they still need our support and love'. On this trip, he has already been roundly criticized by some for visiting during a time of high tensions between the USA and North Korea over its weapons programs and recent missile launches.

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) - Dennis Rodman's visit to North Korea has been uncharacteristically low-key so far.

The White House says a USA envoy met with North Korean foreign ministry representatives in Norway last month as part of efforts to win freedom for Americans held by Pyongyang.

That was used as evidence in his hour-long trial, during which North Korea accused him of committing "hostile acts" against the regime at the urging of a purported member of a church in his home state of OH, a secretive university organization and the Central Intelligence Agency.

Rodman's trip to North Korea is at least his fifth.

In November 2014, USA spy chief James Clapper went to Pyongyang to bring home Matthew Miller, who had ripped up his visa when entering the country and was serving a six-year sentence on an espionage charge, and Korean-American missionary Kenneth Bae, who had been sentenced to 15 years for alleged anti-government activities.

There are reported to be three other U.S. citizens in custody in North Korea.

They said: "We want the world to know how we and our son have been brutalised and terrorised by the pariah regime" in North Korea.

He said that Beijing's pledges to clamp down on the North had been "uneven", but added: "They have taken steps, visible steps that we can confirm".

While the release of the USA citizen might send a signal about eased tensions between Pyongyang and Washington, the DPRK Monday also expressed nostalgia for a period of relaxed relations with South Korea from 2000 to 2007, by marking the signing of the historic 2000 North-South Joint Declaration on inter-Korean relations.

Nauert would not say anything about Warmbier's health because of privacy concerns.

Rodman, one of the few Americans to have met the DPRK's top leader Kim Jong Un, came with an assistant and was received by DPRK officials at the Pyongyang International Airport, but he only posed for photographs without talking to the press. But efforts to persuade North Korea to release the men now held had not been successful until Warmbier's release Tuesday. 'Sadly, he is in a coma and we have been told he has been in that condition since March of 2016, ' the parents said in a statement.

Rodman, in an interview with CNN before landing in North Korea, said he was "trying to accomplish something we both need", referring to himself and the Trump administration.

While traveling in Tokyo, Thomas Shannon Jr., the USA undersecretary of state for political affairs, said Rodman was not acting in any official capacity.

The 56-year-old NBA Hall of Famer, who was heavily criticized for failing to raise the plight of a jailed United States missionary on a previous trip, said discussing detained USA citizens was "not my objective right now".

A student at the University of Virginia, he had flown to North Korea that January as a tourist. North Korea accuses Washington and South Korea of sending spies to overthrow its government.

Otras noticias