S. Korea says N. Korea drones 'grave provocation'

But Warmbier's death has made the prospect of high-level bilateral talks, already fraught with diplomatic risks, even less politically feasible, administration officials and foreign policy experts said. It says his family objected to an autopsy. Rob Portman wouldn't provide many details but said the diplomats indicated they would relay his request. People can live in a state of unresponsive wakefulness for many years with the chances of recovery depending on the extent of the brain injury.

Evan Medeiros, who served as the NSC's senior Asia director under Obama, said that the Warmbier case could alter the calculus not just for Trump but also for South Korea's new president, Moon Jae-in, who had campaigned on a platform to engage Pyongyang.

North Korea on Thursday called US President Donald Trump a "psychopath" as tensions soar following the death of American student Otto Warmbier, who was evacuated in a coma from North Korean detention last week.

Warmbier, an OH native and student at the University of Virginia, was arrested in North Korea in January 2016 while visiting as a tourist.

Also attending will be Ambassador Joseph Yun, the US special envoy who traveled to Pyongyang to bring Warmbier back, and Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, the Department of State said.

After graduating as class salutatorian in 2013, Warmbier enrolled at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where he was studying at the school of commerce.

The travel agency specialises in North Korea tours and is based in the central Chinese city of Xi'an.

A naturalized USA citizen who was born in South Korea, he is a businessman in his mid-60s who at one time lived in Fairfax, Virginia.

A public funeral service for a USA student who was detained in North Korea and eventually released in a coma has been scheduled for Thursday at his hometown high school in Ohio.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned that Washington holds North Korea "accountable" for Warmbier's fate, and demanded the release of three other Americans held by the reclusive regime.

Warmbier, 22, was released last week by North Korea in a coma, but died days later, his family said.

This story has been corrected to show the coroner's last name is Sammarco, not Sammaraco.

A ban on Americans visiting North Korea would only slightly add to Pyongyang's isolation and loss of revenue.

Warmbier's surprise release last week raised initial speculation that the Trump administration, which sent US diplomat Joseph Yun to Pyongyang to oversee Warmbier's medical evacuation, would open a direct communications channel with Pyongyang aimed at paving the way for negotiations over the nuclear and ballistic missile programs that have made North Korea an worldwide pariah.

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

Tillerson told a news conference after security talks with China on Wednesday that North Korea is using money laundering, extortion and malicious cyber activity to help fund its weapons programs.

"Otto Warmbier should never have been in jail for tearing down a stupid banner".

He arrived in OH on June 13 after being held for more than 17 months. They did not cite a specific cause of death. 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.

Pyongyang said Mr Warmbier fell into a coma soon after he was sentenced previous year, claiming the student had contracted botulism and been given a sleeping pill.

  • Carolyn Briggs