North Korea Declares Itself 'Biggest Victim' In Otto Warmbier's Death

Claudine Rigal
Juin 25, 2017

Warmbier, an American college student, died Monday just days after he'd been medically evacuated from a North Korean prison following 17 months of detention.

The heartbreaking video was screened at the end of Warmbier's funeral in his hometown of Wyoming, Ohio, on Thursday, running silently and in slow motion.

The meeting of top US and Chinese diplomats and defense chiefs was held a day after President Donald Trump said China's efforts to use its leverage with Pyongyang had failed, raising fresh doubts about his administration's strategy for countering the threat from North Korea.

North Korea on Friday accused the U.S. of waging a "smear campaign" over the death of a student who was sent back home in a coma, denying he was tortured or abused.

They say he suffered a "severe neurological injury", the most likely cause of which was a cardiopulmonary arrest that had cut the blood supply to the brain.

He was sentenced two months later to 15 years of hard labor for trying to steal an item bearing a propaganda slogan from his hotel, North Korea state media said.

"The very bad torturous mistreatment our son experienced at the hands of the North Koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today", reads a statement issued by Warmbier's family after his death. "Our relevant agencies treat all criminals thoroughly in accordance with domestic laws and worldwide standards and Warmbier was not an exception", a spokesman for the National Reconciliation Council said.

He was buried Thursday after a funeral attended by thousands.

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

But the spokesman, whom state news did not identify, said that American doctors who flew to Pyongyang to evacuate Mr. Warmbier recognized that the North had "provided him with medical treatment and brought him back alive" after his "heart was almost stopped".

"The family chose, rightfully so, not to share that information while he was in captivity... because they didn't want to embarrass (North Korea) by explaining that he actually was Jewish" and would not have been affiliated with the church", he said. "Later that day, that's when we found out he was ill, no one knew that".

"To see a young man go over there healthy and, (after) a minor act of mischief, come home dead basically... this goes beyond any kind of understanding of law and order, of humanity, of responsibility toward any human being", Mattis said.

The article also criticised South Korea for using Mr Warmbier's case to seek the release of other detainees.

"There's no excuse for the way the North Koreans treated our son".

"North Korea needs to be held accountable for what happened to Otto Warmbier", Portman said. "If we could get more trips going over there, I think anything is possible", Volo said.

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