WASHINGTON – Former U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson says he met with North Korean diplomats to request the release of an American student the day before the student was sentenced to 15 years for trying to steal a propaganda banner.
Richardson said he was neither encouraged nor discouraged by the meeting Tuesday with the diplomats from the North Korean mission to the U.N. They said they would relay his request to Pyongyang.
Otto Warmbier, a 21-year-old from Wyoming, Ohio, was sentenced by North Korea’s Supreme Court Wednesday.
Richardson had met the diplomats in New York after Warmbier’s parents and Ohio Gov. John Kasich requested his help.
Richardson said based on past experience, North Korea could release Warmbier after sentencing, but current U.S.-North Korean tensions could hurt those prospects.