Dennis Rodman returns from North Korea. And, amazingly, nothing happened

Former NBA basketball player Dennis Rodman leaves Beijing Airport after arriving from North Korea's Pyongyang

Former NBA basketball player Dennis Rodman leaves Beijing Airport after arriving from North Korea's Pyongyang

A former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations on Sunday said North Korea needs to explain how an American university student the reclusive regime released last week had been in a coma for more than a year. Upon arriving in his home state of OH on Tuesday, the 22-year-old was taken straight to University of Cincinnati Medical Center where doctors said he suffered severe tissue loss in his brain.

A former U.N. ambassador experienced in negotiating for political prisoners, Richardson said he had met with members of the North Korean delegation to the United Nations in NY 20 times since Warmbier was jailed. It did not provide other details. While thousands travel to North Korea each year and return safely, Warmbier's story shows there's a bad price to be paid for some.

Right before he was flown back to the USA, the regime revealed he had been in a coma due to botulism since a day after his sentencing in March 2016.

In a telephone interview with me Friday, an audibly appalled Richardson said North Korean representatives never mentioned Warmbier's grave condition.

Madame Choi, director-general of the North America affairs bureau of North Korea's Foreign Ministry, had herself been involved with nuclear weapons negotiations during the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, US officials told the WSJ.

The Trump administration's success in gaining his release on what North Korea called humanitarian grounds has at least freed those who know him to talk about the outstanding young man with a once-bright future. He is now receiving treatment at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

He has been in a coma for more than a year, since shortly after his last public appearance at his trial in March of 2016, the Washington Post reported.

Warmbier suffered severe brain damage while in custody.

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From journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee to missionary Kenneth Bae, most Americans detained by the North have been released after high-profile interventions.

A USA national security spokesman, Michael Anton, told CNN Rodman was not acting as a representative of the US government or President Donald Trump and stated that he does not believe the President has spoken to Rodman since he entered office.

Three more USA citizens are now being held by North Korea, including two men who taught at a Pyongyang university funded by overseas Christian groups, and a Korean-American pastor who was accused of espionage for the South.

Rodman has faced ridicule and criticism for his trips to North Korea, which some U.S. politicians and activists view as serving only as fodder for North Korean propaganda.

Lankov said in general North Korea's aim was that detained Americans "should be treated not just well, but extremely well".

"I don't think it's (the Warmbier tragedy) going usher in a dialogue with North Korean in the short term", he said.

"This will lead to a continued stalemate with more sanctions", Richardson said.

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