Dennis Rodman defends friendship with Kim Jong Un after Otto Warmbier's death

Claudine Rigal
Juin 25, 2017

Otto Warmbier, the American college student who was detained in North Korea for over a year and died shortly after returning home in a coma, was remembered by friends and loved ones at a public memorial officiated by his college Hillel rabbi.

His family accused North Korea of "awful torturous treatment", while US President Donald Trump described Mr Warmbier as the "latest victim" of North Korean brutality.

SEOUL-North Korea said on Friday the death of USA university student Otto Warmbier soon after his return home was a mystery and dismissed accusations that Warmbier had died because of torture and beating during his captivity as "groundless".

Fred Warmbier, Otto's father, has blamed North Korea for his son's fate.

What does the North say to accusations it caused Mr Warmbier's death?

While Pyongyang accepted U.S. demands for Mr Warmbier's return on humanitarian grounds, Washington "totally distorted this truth and dared to clamour about "retaliation" and 'pressure"' on "dignified" North Korea, the spokesman told KCNA. "Because when I was organizing the trip ... and I meet with the delegates here, you know, I addressed ..."

"Why the USA government which claims to care about the welfare of its citizens had not even once made an official request for the release of Warmbier on humanitarian basis during the Obama administration?" the statement said.

"I was just so happy to see the kid released", Rodman told ABC's "Good Morning America" of when he first learned of Warmbier's release. "Later that day, that's when we found out he was ill".

Doctors at the hospital said he had suffered a severe neurological injury from an unknown cause. "I look at the friendship about him", Rodman said. We jumped up and down ... "Some good things came of this trip".

The spokesman said Warmbier was provided proper medical treatment during his stay. On Thursday, Young Pioneer Tours faulted Warmbier for his imprisonment, telling the New York Daily News that the "vast majority of people are able to respect" the local laws.

They said he had tried to steal a propaganda banner kept in a staff section of the building. When you go over there, and you hear the radio, and... people are talking, ' Rodman said. The editorial argued that an effort by Trump to divert attention from his domestic political problems by launching a preemptive strike against North Korea would follow in the footsteps of previous US presidents who, according to the editorial, had also tried to escalate tensions and foment confrontation overseas as a way of distracting attention from political crisis at home. It's like going to like Istanbul, Turkey, or any place like that. "And no excuse for the way they've treated so many others", he said.

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