USA diplomats have been meeting with the top North Korean nuclear negotiator aiming to free American prisoners and to limit North Korea's missile and nuclear programs, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.
Extremely safe! Despite what you may hear, North Korea is probably one of the safest places on Earth to visit.
Some experts suggested that the timing of Warmbier's release - coinciding with a visit to Pyongyang by eccentric ex-NBA star Dennis Rodman - might have allowed North Korea to salvage something from the situation. Former President Barack Obama had a much more limited engagement with the North Korean regime, employing a policy called "strategic patience". Over the next days, officials said, Tillerson and Trump discussed the case.
While in North Korea, Rodman was shown in video and photos presenting the isolated country's sports minister Kim Il Guk with off-the-wall gifts that included a copy of Trump's book "The Art of the Deal", soap, two autographed jerseys and a copy of "Where's Waldo?".
DiMaggio helped establish an unofficial channel with the North Koreans early past year, termed "track two" because no active USA diplomat was a part of the meeting, per the WSJ.
The condition that Warmbier was in could cause some problems for any ongoing talks between the USA and North Korea.
Otto Frederick Warmbier, a student from the University of Virginia, was arrested on February 2, "while executing an enemy action against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea", the North Korean state news agency KCNA announced in January.
The New America Foundation is a think tank in Washington and DiMaggio helped set up the latest talks with North Korea. "I'm so upset at the way they behaved with Otto, because I got personally involved with this".
Two Americans affiliated with Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, a private institution run by Korean-American Christians, were detained separately in April and May. "Some of these, as I hope you can try to understand, are sensitive, diplomatic matters". The next day, Warmbier was flown to a USA base in Japan before making the longer journey to OH to be reunited with his family.
All of this is deeply upsetting to former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who had been negotiating for Warmbier's release.
North Korean officials maintain they will not abandon their nuclear program altogether but may be open to limiting its scope or temporary halts, the Journal reported.
The North is now holding three other USA citizens.
"I have mixed reactions to Rodman going, buy maybe he's going to say something to Rodman that could be useful", Richardson said.