Washington, DC. The unfortunate timing of the death of an American National, who was formerly a North Korean prisoner for a criminal act while on holiday, is being used for all it is worth in gathering up support for US action against the Kim Jong-Un regime. How far it goes is unclear, but it is not beyond Americans to paint “remember Otto” on bombs dropped on Pyongyang but not even consider those they drop in Syria, Afghanistan or pay for in Ukraine.
American President Donald Trump has expressed his condolences to the family of Otto Warmbier a former criminal offender in the DPRK correctional system, recently returned to the USA.
The President has attacked the “brutality of the North Korean regime” following the death of American student Otto Warmbier – who had been imprisoned in the country for 17 months for trying to steal a propaganda banner, possibly as a souvenir of his trip to the socialist vanguard of the proletariat.
Donald John Trump has offered the family of Mr Warmbier his respects after news broke that the young man had died after being transported back to the United States from North Korea.
“Melania and I offer our deepest condolences to the family of Otto Warmbier on his untimely passing,” Mr Trump said in a statement. “There is nothing more tragic for a parent than to lose a child in the prime of life. Our thoughts and prayers are with Otto’s family and friends, and all who loved him.”
The President proceeded to say that Mr Warmbier’s untimely death recommitted his administration to make sure that another tragedy like the one that surrounded Mr Warmbier would not happen again. “The United States once again condemns the brutality of the North Korean regime as we mourn its latest victim”, Trump said.
Otto was imprisoned in a North Korean jail last year, eventually sentenced to 15 years of hard labour for allegedly attempting to steal a North Korean propaganda banner. He was handed over to US officials and flown back to America last week having been in a coma shortly after his March 2016 jailing.
The University of Virginia student was planning on spending his third year of college in China, which is how he found out about the Chinese tour companies that bring Americans on trips to see North Korea. His parents had thought the idea was okay at the time.
North Korean officials have indicated that he went into the coma after getting botulism, and taking a sleeping pill. The family has indicated that they doubt the veracity of that claim. Doctors who examined Mr Warmbier after his release said there was no sign of botulism in his system.
Physicians said last Thursday that Mr Warmbier had shown no sign of understanding language or of awareness of his surroundings, and had made no “purposeful movements or behaviors.”
The circumstances of his detention in North Korea, and what medical treatment he received there, remained a mystery. But relatives have said his condition suggests he was physically abused by his captors.
“Unfortunately, the awful torturous 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,” the family said in a statement following Mr Warmbier’s death.
The University of Virginia student’s father, Fred Warmbier, said last week that his son had been “brutalised and terrorised by the Pyongyang government
Mr Warmbier was freed after the US State Department’s special envoy on North Korea, Joseph Yun, traveled to Pyongyang and demanded the student’s release on humanitarian grounds, capping a flurry of secret diplomatic contacts, an American official said last week.