TRAGIC END Family says awful torture ensured no other outcome was possible
Relations between the US and North Korea are likely to worsen after Otto Warmbier, an American student medically evacuated recently from Pyongyang after 17 months in jail, died on Monday.
“The United States once again condemns the brutality of the North Korean regime as we mourn its latest victim,” President Donald Trump said. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the US will hold North Korea “accountable” for the student’s “unjust imprisonment”.
Though there were no immediate indications of impending sanctions or other punitive measures, the death could add to tensions between the two countries that are already high over a string of missile tests by Pyongyang and its leader’s repeated threat of a nuclear attack against the US.
In Beijing, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said, “It really is a tragedy. I hope that North Korea and the United States can properly handle the issue.”
Warmbier, a 22 student of university of Virginia, died at a Cincinnati hospital just days after he was brought back to the US. “When Otto returned to Cincinnati late on June 13, he was unable to speak, unable to see and unable to react to verbal commands,” his parents Fred and Cindy Warmbier said in a statement. The “awful torturous mistreatment” Warmbier endured meant “no other outcome was possible, ” they said.
Warmbier had gone to North Korea as part of a study-abroad programme conducted by a Chinese tour agency.