The announcement came just hours after Dennis Rodman arrived in North Korea for an unexpected trip, as reported last night. Warmbier, a University of Virginia student from Cincinnati, was sentenced in March after a televised tearful public confession to trying to steal a propaganda banner.
"At the direction of the President, the Department of State has secured the release of Otto Warmbier from North Korea," Tillerson said in a statement. "Mr. Warmbier is en route to the U.S. where he will be reunited with his family."
What he really meant is that Dennis Rodman's unique style of "diplomacy" appears to have achieved what neither Tillerson himself, nor the previous administration had been capable of.
Tillerson's statement gave no other details and made no mention of Rodman's visit. But it noted that the State Department is continuing "to have discussions" with North Korea about the release of other American citizens who are jailed there. The statement said the department would have no further comment on Warmbier, citing privacy concerns.