United States student dies days after North Korea sent him home comatose

Yunthen dispatched to North Korea and visited Warmbier June 12 with two doctors and demanded his release on humanitarian grounds.

(AP Photo/John Minchillo, File).

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.

Tensions on the Korean peninsula have been heightened by dozens of North Korean missile launches and two nuclear bomb tests since the beginning of previous year.

Dozens of North Korean missile launches and two nuclear bomb tests since the beginning of past year have heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula.

U.S. Sen. John McCain - who was tortured as a POW in Vietnam - said the North Koreans "murdered" Otto Warmbier, the college kid who died in an OH hospital yesterday after falling into a coma as a prisoner in Kim Jong Un's gulag.

North Korea said last month it was its sovereign right to "ruthlessly punish" US citizens it had detained for crimes against the state.

North Korea said botulism led to the coma, but a team of United States doctors who assessed him dispute this account. "It's worth a forceful response". The tour group is no longer taking visitors from the USA to North Korea.

It may never be known, but there are some clues - as well as widespread speculation.

The University of Virginia student was arrested in Pyongyang in January 2016, and as we have reported, was "accused of trying to steal a propaganda poster from an employee area of his hotel".

The South Korean government will make every effort for the return of those held in North Korea, presidential spokesman Park Soo-hyun told a briefing. During the June 6 meeting, Washington learned of Warmbier's condition.

US government officials worked out Warmbier's release in March 2016 with the help of the United Nations.

He had suffered severe brain damage during his captivity.

Some observers believe that North Korea became anxious because Warmbier's condition suddenly worsened. Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Cleveland said the country's "despicable actions. must be condemned".

Others believe it is unlikely that North Korea intentionally harmed Warmbier because he was valuable as a political pawn.

"China hopes that joint efforts with the United States will promote dialogue and achieve positive results", he said, adding that Beijing "hopes to continue communication and cooperation with the U.S. and relevant parties" to work towards denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

Some outside experts see an internal divide in North Korea between officials who believe solving the long standoff with Seoul and Washington is the best way to improve the country's economy and worldwide standing, and hard-liners who believe that outside pressure, isolation and animosity help keep the ruling Kim family in power by solidifying domestic support. They did not cite a specific cause of death. Yun learned about Warmbier's condition in a meeting a week before the release the North Korean ambassador at the U.N.in NY. North Korean diplomats claimed that he slipped into a coma after contracting botulism and taking a sleeping pill, but Warmbier's doctor said there was no sign of botulism in his system. "A lot of bad things happened, but at least we got him home to be with his parents, where they were so happy to see him, even though he was in very tough condition, but he just passed away a little while ago".

Vanessa Coleman

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