Basketball Hall-of-Famer Dennis Rodman arrived in North Korea on Tuesday for the first time in Donald Trump's presidency and said he is "just trying to open a door" on a mission he thinks may get support. Nauert said the last consular visit to Warmbier, by Swedish diplomats, was March 2.
"With tensions as high as they are, we felt that we needed to talk about Otto and put a face on the person", Cindy Warmbier said. The last time he hit the country was in 2014 when he and former NBA All-Stars participated in an exhibition game as a "birthday present" for the North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un. "But we have issued travel warnings to Americans and suggested they not travel to North Korea for their own safety".
He had not been seen in public since and Swedish diplomats, who represent American interests in North Korea because the United States has no relations with the country, had been denied access to him since then.
Rodman has said he is trying to "accomplish" something both he and President Trump need through this visit. When asked about the American citizens detained in North Korea, he simply said that the imprisoned are "not my goal right now".
Warmbier's announced release came as former basketball star Dennis Rodman arrived in North Korea for the latest of his visits to the isolated country.
Rodman's North Korea visits over the years have fueled speculation that he could somehow facilitate a diplomatic breakthrough between Pyongyang and Washington. But the visit seemed to do more harm than good for Rodman's reputation. 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.
Rodman routinely distances himself from political events in North Korea. "We are so grateful that he will finally be with people who love him".More news: Jeff Sessions Insists He's Not 'Stonewalling' By Not Answering Questions
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North Korea has woefully inadequate medical care and it is not clear how North Korean doctors had been caring for Warmbier during more than a year in an unconscious state.
Rodman has palled around with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the past.
The White House says a US envoy met with North Korean foreign ministry representatives in Norway last month as part of efforts to win freedom for Americans held by Pyongyang.
North Korea regularly accuses Washington and Seoul of sending spies to overthrow its government to enable the US -backed South Korean government to control the Korean Peninsula.
Rodman appeared on two seasons of Trump's Celebrity Apprentice TV show.
"The Department of State continues to have discussions with the DPRK [North Korea] regarding three other US citizens reported detained", Tillerson added. "Is that the US solution now, sir?" Fowle left a Bible in a local club hoping a North Korean would find it, which is considered a criminal offense in North Korea.