South Korea's Moon urges North Korea to return detainees swiftly

Angelica Greene
June 20, 2017

The University of Virginia student was arrested in Pyongyang in January 2016, and as we have reported, was "accused of trying to steal a propaganda poster from an employee area of his hotel". 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. His doctors said last week that Mr. Warmbier had lost a significant amount of brain tissue, and was unresponsive to his surroundings despite being awake.

Warmbier died at a Cincinnati hospital just days after North Korea released him from captivity in a coma, his family said. He was salutatorian of his 2013 class at the highly rated high school, and was on the soccer team among other activities.

Speaking moments after news of Otto Warmbier's death was announced publicly, Trump hit out at Pyongyang.

Otto Warmbier was pronounced dead on Monday at 2:20 p.m local time, in his home state of OH, according to a statement from his family members.

'There is nothing more tragic for a parent than to lose a child in the prime of life.

"Otto's parents also said", We thank everyone around the world who has kept him and our family in their thoughts and prayer".

Otto Warmbier, 22, was released from North Korea and handed over to the United States authorities last week, but he passed away on Monday. That was the very last time Warmbier was seen by anyone.

Warmbier passed away at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center in OH at 2:20 pm local time, the family said.

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Dozens of North Korean missile launches and two nuclear bomb tests since the beginning of past year have heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula. A lot of bad things happened. But he just passed away a little while ago.

"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.

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.

McCain said the United States should strongly condemn the Asian country for the way it treats imprisoned Americans. Portman added that the Warmbiers have "had to endure more than any family should have to bear".

Three more United States citizens are now being held by North Korea.

The organizers of Warmbier's trip say they will no longer take USA citizens to the country. North Korea accuses Washington and South Korea of sending spies to overthrow its government. Such direct consultations between the two governments are rare because they don't have formal diplomatic relations. Warmbier's death could make it even harder, although some analysts think Moon could offer talks with the North as a way to get other detainees out of North Korea.

He said that if Trump could resolve the North Korean nuclear issue as well as bring peace to the Korean Peninsula and overall greater security in northeastern Asia, it would probably be the US president's greatest diplomatic achievement.

The U.S. State Department strongly warns Americans against traveling to North Korea, saying they're "at serious risk of arrest and long-term detention under North Korea's system of law enforcement".

Other reports by GizPress

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