Trump to China: Thanks for trying with North Korea

A coroner's office in OH is investigating the death of a 22-year-old college student who died less than a week after his return to the US after almost a year and a half in North Korean detention, a spokesman said Tuesday.

The Republican governor says Monday's death of 22-year-old Otto Warmbier (WORM'-bir) underscores the "evil, oppressive" nature of the North Korean regime and its disregard for human life. Justin Weber told The Associated Press on Tuesday morning that a press conference is expected later to provide details.

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson says he's saddened and angry about the death of an American college student from OH who was released by North Korea in a coma last week.

We do know that the 22-year-old university student was medically evacuated from North Korea on 13 June and flown to the U.S. where he died on 19 June.

Officials and experts have been saying for months that North Korea could conduct a sixth nuclear test at any time, and satellite images periodically show such movements. He was sentenced two months later to 15 years of hard labour for trying to steal an item bearing a propaganda slogan from his hotel in North Korea's capital, Pyongyang, the nation's state media said. His family says it was told he had been in a coma since soon after his sentencing. Doctors said he returned with severe brain damage, but it wasn't clear what caused it. His eyes opened and blinked but without any sign that he understood verbal commands or his surroundings. Unresponsive wakefulness is a medical term for persistent vegetative state. Patients in this condition who have survived a coma can open their eyes, but they do not respond to commands.

Warmbier had arrived back in the U.S. in a state of "unresponsive wakefulness", having suffered a "severe neurological injury" of unknown cause.

At a briefing Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that a meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is less likely to happen now.

North Korea said Warmbier went into a coma after contracting botulism and taking a sleeping pill.

"He should have been brought home a long time ago", Trump said. "I believe we must now have the perception that North Korea is an irrational regime".

The coroner's office in Cincinnati is investigating Warmbier's death.

"The countless contributions he made to his school and community through his leadership, actions, and limitless enthusiasm will be felt far into the future", the school district said.

The travel agency specialises in North Korea tours and is based in the central Chinese city of Xi'an. He was leaving North Korea on January 2, 2016, when he was detained at the airport.

He said the form would require Americans to affirm they're aware of what's transpired to other US citizens, such as Warmbier, whom the senator said was "murdered" by the North.

Young Pioneer Tours is not the only company reconsidering its policy for American tourists in the wake of Warmbier's death.

Despite worldwide condemnation and sanctions, North Korea has a small nuclear arsenal and is developing nuclear-capable ballistic missiles that threaten Japan and South Korea - and one-day could even hit some USA cities.

  • Carolyn Briggs