Culture&Arts

North Korea says it's 'biggest victim' in US student's death

North Korea says it's 'biggest victim' in US student's death

A former USA diplomat, who said he counseled Otto Warmbier's family for over a year after he was detained in North Korea, said the conversation he had with the family after they learned Otto's dire medical condition was one of the most emotional of his career.

The death of Otto Warmbier on Monday, only six days after being released by North Korea, is a tragedy in more ways than one. His death fanned a conflict between the North and the United States that was already aggravated by North Korea's defiant missile launches and two nuclear tests since early a year ago as part of its effort to build a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of hitting the USA mainland.

"North Korea needs to be held accountable for what happened to Otto Warmbier", Portman said.

Officials in Beijing had expressed confidence that their gestures to Trump - including the lifting on Tuesday of a 14-year embargo on USA beef imports - would placate Trump, whose platform as a candidate had signaled a more confrontational policy.

His family and others have blamed North Korea for his condition.

North Korea on Thursday rebuked President Moon Jae-in for suggesting that Seoul is open to unconditional talks if Pyongyang stops provocative acts, urging him to show a proper attitude toward inter-Korean ties.




Officials at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he was treated after his return, declined to provide details.

Some 2,500 mourners lined up early on Thursday morning at Wyoming High School, in the Cincinnati suburb of Wyoming. A rabbi was officiating at the public service, which was closed to the news media.

The Ohio hometown of the 22-year-old college student detained for almost a year and a half in North Korea before being sent home in a coma is making plans for his funeral. FILE- In this June 15, 2017, file photo, Fred Warmbier, father of Otto Warmbier, a University of Virginia undergraduate student who was imprisoned in North Korea in March 2016, speaks during a news conference at Wyoming.

"North Korea has blatantly violated worldwide law with their nuclear testing, illicit sales, and the ramping up of their nuclear programme", said Republican Representative Doug Lamborn, a member of the House Armed Services Committee and a leading advocate for missile defence in Washington.

Alex Vagonis also said Warmbier was her soul mate who "helped me become a better human being". Warmbier was accused in January 2015 of trying to steal a propaganda banner at his hotel while visiting North Korea, tearfully confessed and was convicted of subversion. "Some good things came of this trip".

Doctors at the hospital said Warmbier had suffered a severe neurological injury from an unknown cause. The cameras that captured him ripping a penny poster from a wall are everywhere, as are government loudspeakers in every apartment, house and building, part of a surveillance and communication system meant to keep tabs on every one of North Korea's 25 million people.


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