North Korea denies torturing American detainee Otto Warmbier
- Author: Adam Floyd Jun 24, 2017,
Jun 24, 2017, 0:08
Does the White House know?
North Korea has carried out another test of a rocket engine that the United States believes could be part of its program to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile, a U.S. official told Reuters on Thursday. Katina Adams, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department's East Asia Bureau, said Washington had repeatedly requested the release of Warmbier under the Obama administration. In all, 16 American citizens have been arrested in North Korea in the past 10 years and released only after high-profile intervention by former US presidents or their envoys.
Trump has held high hopes for greater cooperation from China to exert influence over North Korea, leaning heavily on Chinese President Xi Jinping for his assistance. According to his family's wishes, no autopsy was performed.
Mr Warmbier, a student at the University of West Virginia, died on Monday after returning to the United States in a coma.
Meanwhile, Warmbier's sudden decline continues to raise questions.
Trump, who frequently denounced China on the campaign trail, has turned to Beijing to help pressure its ally North Korea, prompting concern among Asian partners that America might go easy on Beijing over its expansive claims in the disputed South China Sea.
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The article also criticized South Korea for using Warmbier's case to seek the release of other detainees, including six South Korean citizens.
On examining Warmbier, doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center said they found no visible signs of trauma or fractures and the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of his brain was consistent with "cardiopulmonary arrest" although nothing in his previous medical history suggests he could die of this at 22.
"Otto Warmbier's life was cut short but he had so much promise he was everything he was outgoing, athletic, bright, curious", he said.
On Tuesday night, the University of Virginia held a candlelight vigil for Warmbier, where his girlfriend, Alex Vagonis, called him her "soulmate".
"As an American, I feel extremely fortunate that we are able to travel around the world".
"We must now have the perception that NK is an irrational regime, and dialogue is necessary as we have been unable to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue through sanctions and pressure only", he said.
"While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out", he tweeted. "We see a young man go over there healthy and with a minor act of mischief" and come home on the verge of death.
Otto Warmbier's brother, sister and friends were among the scheduled speakers for the funeral Thursday at a high school in his hometown of Wyoming, near Cincinnati.
His death heightened the conflict between the North and the United States already aggravated by North Korea's defiant missile launches and two nuclear tests since early previous year as part of its effort to build a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of hitting the USA mainland.