National

North Korea releases a puzzling statement on the death of Otto Warmbier

North Korea releases a puzzling statement on the death of Otto Warmbier

The agency accused Seoul of tarnishing Pyongyang's image with its "slanderous talk about cruel treatment and torture" while having no knowledge of the "humanitarian" treatment Mr Warmbier received in the North.

Warmbier was arrested in January last year and sentenced to 15 years' hard labour for allegedly attempting to steal a propaganda poster from a staff-only area of his hotel in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang.

He was sent home last week suffering from brain damage and in what USA doctors called a state of unresponsive wakefulness.

On Friday, the Foreign Ministry spokesman did not disclose what caused Mr. Warmbier's coma.

USA doctors said given Warmbier's young age his severe brain injury was most likely caused by cardiopulmonary arrest cutting the blood supply to the brain.

He blasted South Korea, accusing it of seeking to exploit Warmbier's death to press its own demand for the release of six South Korean detainees.

US President Donald Trump blamed "the brutality of the North Korean regime" for Mr Warmbier's death.

Katherine Dettwyler, an adjunct faculty member, posted her thoughts about Warmbier on her Facebook page as well as the comments section of this National Review article.

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He warned that the "smear campaign" against the North compelled it to "make firm determination that humanitarianism and benevolence for the enemy are a taboo and we should further sharpen the blade of law".

U.S. doctors who had travelled to the North last week to evacuate Warmbier had recognised that the North had "provided him with medical treatment and brought him back alive whose heart was almost stopped", the unnamed ministry spokesman said.

"Is it wrong of me to think that Otto Warmbier got exactly what he deserved?" she wrote.

US officials have not been able to provide a cause of death for Warmbier, in part because his family objected to an autopsy being performed.

Hamilton County's Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco's office said Tuesday that only an external examination was performed on Otto Warmbier's body, per his family's request.

According to CNN, Warmbier's doctors said the 22-year-old student was in a condition they called "unresponsive wakefulness" or "persistent vegetative state".

The official accused Washington of conducting a "smear campaign" against North Korea. He told Strahan, "I was just so happy to see the kid released. Some good things came of this trip", Rodman told "Good Morning America" on Friday.

Warmbier was detained in North Korea for over a year and died shortly after returning home in a coma.


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