North Korea Declares Itself 'Biggest Victim' In Otto Warmbier's Death

Days after USA student Otto Warmbier died, North Korean state media said his death was a "mystery" and dismissed accusations he was tortured during his 17 months in captivity in the country. But it's unclear how he came to be in that state.

Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in March 2016 for trying to steal a political banner. "Countless innocent men and women have died at the hands of North Korea..., but the singular case of Otto Warmbier touches the American heart like no other", said Nikki Haley, the USA ambassador to the United Nations. "The fact that Warmbier died suddenly in less than a week just after his return to the USA in his normal state of health indicators is a mystery to us as well", he said.

"The smear campaign against [North Korea] staged in the USA compels us to make firm determination that ... we should further sharpen the blade of law", said a spokesman for the North Korean Foreign Ministry in a statement.

American doctors who treated Warmbier claimed to find no evidence of botulism.

Military-to-military exchanges should also be upgraded and mechanisms of notification established in order to cut the risks of "judgment errors" between the Chinese and USA militaries, the statement also said. But in an apparently contradictory statement, after telling his family that Warmbier had been in a coma since his trial more than a year ago, a Pyongyang spokesman later said he was returned to America in a "normal state of health".

"It would be easy at a moment like this to focus on all that we lost - future time that won't be spent with a warm, engaging, brilliant young man whose curiosity and enthusiasm for life knew no bounds", the family said in a statement earlier this week.

"I asked on behalf of Dennis for [Warmbier's] release three times", Volo said, referring to the release as a "type of good faith".

Despite the retired National Basketball Association standout's claims, a Department of State spokesperson said that Rodman's visit was unrelated to Warmbier's release. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said that China shared the same goal of eliminating nuclear weapons from the Korean Peninsula, while State Councilor Yang Jiechi told Trump that China was willing to coordinate with the dealing with North Korea. We jumped up and down ...

But what happened to Warmbier happens every day in North Korea.

"They said they understood, that was all that was said in that meeting", Volo said. "People are so happy now because it is more like it's civilized again, " he said.

"Is it wrong of me to think that Otto Warmbier got exactly what he deserved?"

How low can the North Korean regime go?

Will Rodman and Volo lobby for those Americans' release?

  • Leroy Wright