Ex-NBA player Rodman expected to arrive in North Korea Tuesday

But Nauert is firm in stating "Dennis Rodman had nothing to do with the release of Mr. Warmbier". The Associated Press could not immediately confirm that information.

PotCoin didn't respond to a request seeking further comment.

Rodman stopped in Beijing en route to Pyongyang on Tuesday afternoon and told reporters he was "hoping to do something pretty positive".

"The Worm" first visited North Korea in February 2013 with three Harlem Globetrotters and a crew from Vice Media, which had organized the trip to film a documentary. Rodman said to ESPN in March.

"They were looking at ways to do that and this was one of the instruments they were looking at, and the foreign ministry thought it was advisable to formally extend an invitation", he told AFP.

Dennis Rodman is back in North Korea, the former National Basketball Association star announced this week, with help from a marijuana cryptocurrency startup.

Former NBA player Dennis Rodman is now in North Korea, returning to the isolated nation to try to "open a door" with leader Kim Jong Un, he told reporters before his flight departed from Beijing on Tuesday.

Rodman said the issue of several Americans currently detained by North Korea is "not my objective right now", suggesting he was not involved with the release of Warmbier, a University of Virginia student from suburban Cincinnati who publicly confessed to trying to steal a North Korean propaganda banner. But the claim that marijuana is legal in North Korea is not true: The penal code lists it as a controlled substance in the same category as cocaine and heroin.

Previous detainees have been released after visits from high-profile Americans, including former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. North Korean state media at the time said Warmbier "was caught committing a hostile act against the state", which it said was "tolerated and manipulated by the USA government". This is his first since U.S. President Donald Trump took office. Before his trial, Warmbier had said he tried to steal a propaganda banner as a trophy for an acquaintance who wanted to hang it in her church. He identified the church as Friendship United Methodist Church.

Warmbier was detained in January of 2016 at the airport in Pyongyang while he was on his way home. Warmbier had been staying at the Yanggakdo International Hotel. He told reporters there that he does not intend to bring up the three US citizens still detained in the country, according to the AP.

Warmbier is a University of Virginia student from suburban Cincinnati. The family has confirmed Secretary of State Tillerson's announcement that Warmbier was free, without providing specifics on what happened to him during his labor punishment. He said Warmbier's sentence was "unnecessary and appalling".

Speaking to reporters in Tokyo, Under Secretary of State Thomas Shannon said that the USA was aware of Rodman's visit, and that he is traveling as a private citizen.

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