North Korea accuses US of 'smear campaign' over death of Otto Warmbier

North Korea has denied it cruelly treated or tortured a U.S. student who was detained for more than year and died days after being released in a coma.

North Korea's foreign ministry spokesman said Warmbier was "a victim of the policy of strategic patience" of former U.S. President Barack Obama whose government never requested his release, according to comments carried by the official KCNA agency.

The comments published by the agency were North Korea's first reaction to Otto Warmbier's death in a USA hospital Monday after it released him for what it called humanitarian reasons.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican from the Cincinnati area, told reporters that North Korea must be held accountable for Warmbier's detention and death. Sadly, he passed away after suffering from what his doctors say were severe neurological injuries that he acquired while in North Korea. Through statements on KCNA, North Korea said it dealt with him according to its domestic laws and worldwide standards.

He was serving a sentence of hard labor after being accused of stealing a propaganda poster.

The statement said the country was being subjected to a "smear campaign" and described themselves as the "biggest victims" in the incident.

"The US should ponder over the consequences to be entailed from its reckless and rash act", he added, possibly an allusion to the three Korean-Americans now imprisoned by North Korean authorities.

"Dennis Rodman had nothing to do with Otto returning to the United States", Fred told GMA.

Warmbier was buried Thursday in a funeral attended by thousands in his native OH town.

US President Donald Trump called the North a "brutal regime".

US officials have not been able to provide a cause of death for Warmbier, in part because his family objected to an autopsy being performed.

It blamed accusations of mistreatment on an American "smear campaign" and accused South Korean of seeking to exploit Warmbier's death to press its own demand for the release of six detainees.

North Korea said the sentence was appropriate and called speculation that he died as a result of beating or torture "groundless".

22-year-old American Otto Warmbier died less than a week after his return to the United States after almost a year and a half in North Korean detention.

On Wednesday Yang and top General Fang Fenghui met with Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis at the State Department to discuss North Korea and other regional issues.

Rodman's agent, Chris Volo, who went to North Korea as well and was on hand during the interview, was even more adamant about their role in Warmbier's return.

  • Leroy Wright