Donald Trump's slams North Korea over death of Otto Warmbier
21 June 2017, 02:12 | Andres Norman
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The tour agency that took U.S. student Otto Warmbier to Pyongyang said Tuesday it would stop taking Americans to the reclusive state after the 22-year-old died following 18 months in North Korean detention. He died six days later surrounded by relatives in his hometown of Cincinnati.
North Korea claimed Warmbier fell into a coma soon after he was sentenced a year ago, saying the college student had contracted botulism and been given a sleeping pill. His parents created the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation to advocate for the release of American hostages and to help keep journalists reporting in conflict zones safe.
Melania and I offer our deepest condolences to the family of Otto Warmbier on his untimely passing.
The coroner's office in Cincinnati is investigating the death of an American college student who died less than a week after his return from North Korea, where he was detained for almost a year and a half.
The University of Virginia student was arrested at the airport as he was leaving Pyongyang in January last year and sentenced to 15 years of hard labour at a show trial for stealing a political poster from a hotel.
"There is no excuse for any civilized nation to have kept his condition secret and denied him top notch medical care for so long", Warmbier's father, Fred, told a press conference.
Trump condemned Pyongyang following news of his death. They did not cite a specific cause of death. John McCain said that Americans who are "stupid" enough to still want to visit North Korea should be required to sign a waiver absolving the USA government of any blame if they're harmed while there.
"The treatment of Otto Warmbier is beyond the pale of North Korea's usual standards", said John Delury, an Asia expert at Seoul's Yonsei University.
Three more USA citizens are now being held by North Korea.
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"Now, the assessment of risk for Americans visiting North Korea has become too high".
In the assessment by the U.S. team who came to check up on Warmbier, they reported that Warmbier had suffered severe brain damage and was medically evacuated from North Korea on 13 June to a hospital in his home city of Cincinnati, Ohio.
"The devastating loss of Otto Warmbier's life has led us to reconsider our position on accepting American tourists", it said in a statement.
Early this month, North Korean diplomats at the United Nations urgently requested a face-to-face meeting with US officials in NY.
"This makes it extremely hard for the USA to move forward to make any overture toward North Korea absent the release of the three other prisoners", said Ralph Cossa, president of the Pacific Forum CSIS in Honolulu.
Warmbier died in OH on Monday, days after being released by North Korea. "The way his detention was handled was appalling, and a tragedy like this must never be repeated", it said. He arrived in OH on June 13, 2017, after being held for more than 17 months.
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