Family of freed student adjusting to 'different reality'

Otto Warmbier at a news conference in the months before his sentencing in 2016

KCNA REUTERS Otto Warmbier at a news conference in the months before his sentencing in 2016

City councilwoman Jenni McCauley said the tight-knit community was "thrilled" to have Warmbier back. He was visiting the reclusive state with a tour group. During his statement, Fred Warmbier rejected North Korea's explanation for his son's condition.

North Korean officials claimed Warmbier fell into a coma in March previous year due to botulism and a sleeping pill.

His father, Fred Warmbier, met with reporters earlier in the day and said the family was proud of Otto, calling him "a fighter". Warmbier's family has said they believe that confession was coerced.

The release came amid tension between Washington and Pyongyang following a series of missile tests by the North, focusing attention on an arms build-up that Pentagon chief Jim Mattis on Monday dubbed "a clear and present danger to all". Pyongyang has vowed to develop a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the USA mainland.

"When Otto was first taken we were advised by the past administration to take a low profile while they worked to obtain his release", Fred Warmbier said.

"I don't think we'll ever find the answer", he said.

He said there was no reason for North Korea to keep his son's condition secret for more than a year and to deny him top medical care.

He said his wife, Cindy, had not left their son's side since his return to the United States.

Yun met with the North Korean ambassador to the U.N.in NY on June 6 and was told of Warmbier's medical status.

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Alison Lebrun, center background, helps tie blue-and-white awareness ribbons along Springfield Pike near the family home of Otto Warmbier, June 13, 2017.Denise Koesterman ties blue-and-white awareness ribbons along Springfield Pike near the family home of Otto Warmbier, June 13, 2017. The North accused the University of Virginia student of entering the country under the guise of a tourist and plotting against the nation's unity with "the tacit connivance of the US government".

He was last seen publicly that March, when he was sentenced for subversion to 15 years in prison with hard labour. "North Korea doesn't do anything out of the kindness of their heart".

He said he doesn't believe "anything they (the North Koreans) say".

His father criticized the Obama administration on Thursday for the handling of his son's imprisonment.

"Disbelief", is how Warmbier described his immediate reaction to being told last Tuesday that his son is in a coma. "We are extremely grateful for their efforts and concern", he said.

Warmbier is a University of Virginia student who arrived back home in OH on Tuesday in a coma.

He noted that doctors said a lack of blood flow to Warmbier's brain occurred some time before April 2016, according to scans, which would be right after Warmbier was sentenced to hard labor in March 2016.

"I'm proud of Otto, and the courage he showed by going to North Korea", Warmbier said, "and having that adventurous side to him.so the fact that he was taken and treated this way is disgusting, and it's tough to process".

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