Otto Warmbier's death remains mystery as family declines autopsy

The organizers of a trip to North Korea by an American college student who died after being released from prison in a coma say they will no longer take USA citizens to the country.

Asked whether the Obama administration should have done more to free his son, Warmbier told reporters last week: "I think the results speak for themselves".

Trump adds, "he should have been brought home a long time ago".

Trump called Warmbier's death a "total disgrace".

The US President has offered the family of Mr Warmbier his respects after news broke that the young man had died after being transported back to the United States from North Korea.

The president says if Otto Warmbier had been returned home to the USA earlier, "I think the result would have been a lot different".

"We've had, I think, positive movement on China over the past five months of this administration, and we'll continue to work with them and others to put the appropriate pressure on North Korea to change this behavior and this regime", said White House press secretary Sean Spicer at a briefing on Tuesday.

There was no immediate word from the family about why relatives opted not to perform an autopsy, which may have shed more light on the cause of the neurological injuries Warmbier suffered in North Korea.

Warmbier was visiting North Korea as part of a tour group when he was detained at the Pyongyang airport in January 2016. He was detained and sentenced to 15 years hard labor. The US says it is concerned by North Korea's nuclear and missile tests.

"There had not been any previous detainment in North Korea that has ended with such tragic finality and we have been struggling to process the result", the statement continued.

Tensions between the U.S. and North Korea have been at an all time high since Trump was sworn into office.

"I have great confidence that China will properly deal with North Korea".

Warmbier said in his graduation speech that he took inspiration from an episode of "The Office".

His family said Monday that he first appeared anguished when he first arrived home, but died "at peace".

Why? To make a political point, to show the US that this is what you get if you mess with North Korea.

The news of Warmbier's death reminded George Hunziker, 59, of his younger brother Evan's imprisonment in North Korea after being charged with spying in 1996.

Prior to the Xi-Trump meeting in Florida, Trump had criticized China for not cooperating with USA and global efforts to bring the North Korean regime under control.

A team of USA doctors have also disputed North Korea's version of events.

For months, Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and top aides have staked any progress dealing with North Korea's burgeoning nuclear programme on China's involvement.

Geng said China has played a "positive constructive" role regarding North Korea because it is a responsible member of the worldwide community, and "not because of any pressure from other countries".

  • Larry Hoffman