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US official visited Pyongyang to evacuate Warmbier

Posted June. 15, 2017 07:16,   

Updated June. 15, 2017 07:36


Joseph Y. Yun, the State Department’s special representative for North Korea and the U.S.’s chief representative for the six party talks, came back from his recent visit to North Korea per instructions given by U.S. President Donald Trump to evacuate Otto F. Warmbier (22), American college student who is in a comma after having been detained in Pyongyang.

His return is drawing attention from the public with forecasts about a possible dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang over North Korea’s nuclear program as Yun is the first U.S. working level official in charge of policy toward North Korea to visit the reclusive nation since the inception of Trump’s administration, while the U.S. and South Korea are having their first presidential summit in Washington on June 29.

The Associated Press and CNN have reported that Yun arrived in Pyongyang on Monday morning by a private plane through Japan. Yun met Warmbier with two doctors and demanded Warmbier’s release on humanitarian grounds to North Korea. After his custody was transferred to the U.S., he flew back to the U.S. via Japan, taking Warmbier to his home in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The U.S. and North Kore had a meeting in Oslo during the Track 1.5 talks, which is a series of discussions involving the public and the private circles. Following negotiations in Oslo, they met in New York. During the meeting in New York on June 6 following a request by North Korea, Ja Song Nam, North Korea's Ambassador to the United Nations, told Yun that Warmbier has been in a coma since March 2016 after he contracted botulism. After receiving a briefing about Warmbier’s serious medical condition, Trump ordered Yun to visit Pyongyang to take Warmbier to the U.S., CNN reported.

Seung-Heon Lee ddr@donga.com