Finally reacting to the death of Otto Warmbier on Friday through its Korean Central News Agency, North Korea is claiming that officials dealt with the young man “according to domestic law and international standards” after he allegedly stole a propaganda poster while visiting the reclusive country.
Warmbier was detained for more than a year and died Monday in a U.S. hospital, just days after being released back to his family in a coma.
Pyongyang has claimed that Warmbier merely “contracted botulism, took a sleeping pill and fell into a coma,” but American doctors have concluded that he likely suffered “respiratory distress,” causing the oxygen supply to his brain to be cut off.
“His neurological condition can best be described as a state of unresponsive wakefulness,” according to one of his doctors prior to his death.
Calling the North Korean government “a brutal regime,” President Trump declared North Korea’s treatment of Warmbier “a total disgrace,” adding that the U.S. will “be able to handle it.”
Before Warmbier’s release, the administration was already looking at options regarding the increasingly belligerent North Korea as the rogue regime test-fired missiles at least nine times since Trump’s election, threatening the U.S. and its regional allies.
“While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out,” Trump tweeted, signaling that he may now act alone.
While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 20, 2017
According to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the U.S. will “hold North Korea accountable” for Warmbier’s “unjust imprisonment.” He is also calling for the release of three other Americans who are being detained in North Korea.
“The North Korean regime is mistaken if it believes that its barbaric mistreatment of an American citizen held in depraved captivity for over a year will pass quietly,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
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