President Trump had harsh words for North Korea on Monday, saying they had a “brutal regime.” Otto Warmbier was arrested and detained for more than 17 months for stealing a banner in the hotel in which he was staying. He was released on June 13 while in a coma and died on Monday at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
“Lot of bad things happened,” Trump said during a White House meeting with technology CEOs, “but at least we got him home to be with his parents.”
“It’s a brutal regime,” Trump went on, “and we’ll be able to handle it.” Trump released a written statement as well, “Otto’s fate deepens my Administration’s determination to prevent such tragedies from befalling innocent people at the hands of regimes that do not respect the rule of law or basic human decency.” Vice President Pence tweeted this message following the president’s statement.
Karen & I are so saddened to hear this. We're praying for Otto's family tonight. A tragic example of North Korea's disregard for human life. pic.twitter.com/XtqlCQCMSJ
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) June 19, 2017
Rex Tillerson, the Secretary of State, said that the United States held North Korea accountable for Warmbier’s “unjust imprisonment” and demanded that the country release three other American citizens they are holding prisoner for alleged crimes against the state. The United States has accused the North Koreans of using these detainees as political pawns.
Warmbier’s family said in a statement that “the awful torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans” meant that “no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today.”
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikke Haley said, “Countless innocent men and women have died at the hand of the North Korean criminals, but the singular case of Otto Warmbier touches the American heart like no other. While Otto Warmbier’s memory will always be a blessing to his loved ones,” Haley added, “it will also serve as an indelible reminder to us of the barbaric nature of the North Korean dictatorship.”
Warmbier went to North Korea as a part of a tour group. He was detained at Pyongyang’s airport in January of 2016. The company that organized the trip, Young Pioneer Tours, recently announced that they would no longer lead tours of North Korea for U.S. citizens. “The assessment of risk for Americans visiting North Korea has become too high,” said the company, which has also offered tours to Iran, Iraq and former Soviet republics and boasted about their “budget tours to destinations your mother would rather you stayed away from.”
Our State Department warns against travel to North Korea, but does not forbid going there. While most visitors return without incident, some can be suddenly seized and face lengthy imprisonment for what seems like minor infractions. Representative Ed Royce (R-Ca.), who is the chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, called for a ban for all tourist travel to North Korea. “Travel propaganda lures far too many people to North Korea,” Royce said. “This is a regime that regularly kidnaps foreign citizens and keeps 120,000 North Koreans in barbaric gulags.”
Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) had this to say about Warmbier’s death, he was “murdered by the [North Korean dictator] Kim Jong-un[sic] regime. In the final year of his life, he lived the nightmare in which the North Korean people have been trapped for 70 years: forced labor, mass starvation, systematic cruelty, torture, and murder,” McCain said, later adding, “The United States of America cannot and should not tolerate the murder of its citizens by hostile powers.”
What are your thoughts about this tragic outcome in this case?
Credit: Fox News