Otto Warmbier dies
Otto Warmbier dies after returning to the U.S. from North Korea just last week. What happened to him in Kim Jong-un’s land is still unknown, but US politicians called it “murder.”
After a year in a coma, the Warmbier family announced Otto Warmbier’s death on Monday. In a statement, the family said that “the awful tortuous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today.” They added the University of Virginia is now finally in peace. “He was at peace. He was home and we believe he could sense that,” expressed his parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier.
The family said that when Warmbier returned on June 13 he was unable to speak, unable to see, and unable to react to verbal commands. Fred Warmbier said his son was brutalized by the North Koreans. The family did not say how Warmbier died.
Why Otto Warmbier Traveled to North Korea
The 22-year-old student from Ohio traveled to North Korea in late 2015 with a tour group. As the group prepared to leave in early 2016, Warmbier was charged for stealing a propaganda banner from his hotel. He was later convicted of engaging in a hostile act against the government. Thus, he was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.
He was in North Korea as a tourist. He was going to make his way to Hong Kong for a study-abroad program when he was stopped as he was about to leave the country. North Korea finally allowed Warmbier to return to the U.S. last week after 17 months of detention in Pyongyang. However, he was already in an unconscious state when he arrived in America. Warmbier’s doctors at University of Cincinnati Medical Center said he had extensive brain damage dating back longer than a year.
Trump Condemns North Korea
Trump has offered his condolences to the Warmbier family and also slammed North Korea for what happened to the student. “Otto’s fate deepens my Administration’s determination to prevent such tragedies from befalling innocent people at the hands of regimes that do not respect the rule of law or basic human decency. The United States once again condemns the brutality of the North Korean regime as we mourn its latest victim,” Trump said in a statement.
Other American politicians, including Arizona Senator and Homeland Security and Armed Services Committee member John McCain and Sen. Marco Rubio, called Warmbier’s death “murder.” Meanwhile, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also slammed North Korea. Additionally, he demanded the release of three other Americans who have been illegally detained in the isolated country. Tillerson added the administration is also evaluating an executive order to ban travel to North Korea following Warmbier’s death.
Otto Warmbier dies at the young age of 22 and ahead of the annual US-China diplomatic and security dialogue in Washington this week. North Korea considers China as its closest trading partner, CNN reported. The Trump administration has been dealing with North Korea’s increasingly aggressive nuclear program and has been pushing Beijing to do something about it.