US sends supersonic bombers in show of force against N.Korea

Otto Warmbier, an American college student who was released by North Korea in a coma last week after nearly a year and a half in captivity, died Monday, his family said.

CINCINNATI (AP) - A cause of death hasn't been determined for a 22-year-old college student who was detained for almost a year and a half in North Korea before being sent home in a coma, an OH coroner's office said Tuesday.

Investigators were also reviewing radiological images and awaiting additional medical records requested by the coroner, Zornes said. Justin Weber told The Associated Press that a news conference is expected later to provide more information.

Relatives have said US envoys told them that North Korean officials said Warmbier contracted botulism after his trial and became comatose after taking a sleeping pill.

Doctors at the Cincinnati Medical Center, where Mr Warmbier was treated following his return to the U.S. on 13 June, determined he suffered from "unresponsive wakefulness", also known as persistent vegetative state, due to "severe neurological injury".

Warmbier arrived in Cincinnati on June 13 after being held for more than 17 months.

"We don't know - and North Korea should come clean".

In last days of his life, his parents said, "he was home, and we believe he could sense that".

A meeting between United States President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un is less likely than it was when Trump said he would be willing to meet with the North Korean leader, a White House spokesman said on Tuesday.

Warmbier was convicted of subversion in North Korea after he tearfully confessed he tried to steal a propaganda banner.

Mr Trump said Mr Warmbier's death had deepened his administration's resolve "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".

The president once argued that China was more than capable of coercing North Korea into abandoning its nuclear program and belligerent behavior - if Beijing only wanted to.

North Korea said they released Warmbier last week on "humanitarian grounds".

Warmbier was visiting North Korea as part of a tour group when he was detained at the Pyongyang airport in January 2016.

Analysts say his death will likely cast a shadow on relations between the USA and North Korea and compound efforts by South Korea's new liberal president, Moon Jae-in, to improve ties with the North.

Warmbier died in OH on Monday, days after being released by North Korea while in a coma.

Moon echoed these fears when he said, "South Korea is not safe from the risk of natural disaster, and a nuclear accident caused by a quake can have such a devastating impact".

He said he spoke with Warmbier's parents, adding it's "incredible what they've gone through" and that the student "should have been brought home a long time ago".

"It's too early to say if this incident will affect overall North Korea policy or not. That is all I am telling you", Trump told the Financial Times.

  • Leroy Wright