US Student Imprisoned in North Korea Dies

Otto Warmbier

Otto Warmbier

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. He spent a year and a half in N Korea, a lot of bad things happened but at least we got him to be with his parents.

The 22-year-old "has completed his journey home", relatives said in a statement.

Over and over, Otto Warmbier apologised and begged - at first calmly, then choking up and finally in tears - to be reunited with his family.

Last month Representatives Adam Schiff and Joe Wilson introduced the North Korea Travel Control Act, which would require licenses for American citizens to travel to the country.

Three more United States citizens are being held by North Korea.

They believe respiratory arrest led to his condition, which is caused by a lack of oxygen and blood in the brain. He was salutatorian of his high school class and was on the soccer team.

Warmbier arrived at the UC Medical Centre following North Korea's decision to release him for what it called humanitarian reasons and under strong pressure after the Trump administration. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Otto's family and friends, and all who loved him".

Young Pioneer Tours, the travel company that took Otto Warmbier on a fateful trip to North Korea, will no longer take USA citizens into North Korea. More than 15 months after he gave a staged confession in North Korea, he is with his OH family again.

While Beijing may attempt to use such leverage to free Americans in the North, its influence is limited, said Jin Qianyi, a professor at Yanbian University's Institute of Northeast Asia Studies, which sits along the border with North Korea.

Warmbier's release came amid mounting tensions with Washington following a series of missile tests by Pyongyang, focusing attention on an arms buildup that Pentagon chief Jim Mattis has dubbed "a clear and present danger to all".

U.S. Sen. John McCain says Americans who are "stupid" enough to still want to visit North Korea should be required to sign a waiver absolving the U.S. government of any blame if they're harmed while there.

It remains unclear what caused the University of Virginia student's severe health problems when he was in North Korea.

The company Mr Warmbier travelled with, China-based company Young Pioneer Tours, has announced it will no longer take visitors from the U.S. to the country.

Upon his arrival in the US, Warmbier was taken immediately to the University of Cincinnati Medical Centre, where doctors said that two M.R.I. scans sent by the North Koreans indicated that he had sustained a catastrophic brain injury shortly after his conviction. "The United States should ban tourist travel to North Korea", Royce was quoted as saying in a statement published of the committee's website on Monday.

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