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Sen. Portman: Warmbier's Death 'Wake-up Call' on 'Brutal' NKorea

Defense Secretary James Mattis said Wednesday that the recent death of Otto Warmbier, the 22-year-old college student who was held captive by North Korea, "goes beyond any kind of understanding of law and order, of humanity, of responsibility towards any human being". Doctors had described Mr Warmbier's condition as a state of "unresponsive wakefulness" and said he suffered a "severe neurological injury" of unknown cause.

The United States has demanded North Korea release three other US citizens it holds in detention: missionary Kim Dong Chul and academics Tony Kim and Kim Hak Song.

Warmbier was among the estimated 5,000 non-Chinese who visit North Korea every year on packages that often include trips to Pyongyang, the capital, as well as the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, Mount Paektu and sometimes the Masik ski resort.

North Korea's government said it released Warmbier last week on "humanitarian grounds".

Before his arrest, Warmbier seemed to be having a good time in North Korea.

Warmbier, a University of Virginia student, was accused of trying to steal a propaganda banner while visiting with a tour group and was convicted of subversion.

Otto Warmbier's college girlfriend says he was her soul mate who helped her "become a better human being".

The Trump administration secured Warmbier's release after he was imprisoned for nearly a year-and-a-half.

"It's a total disgrace what happened to Otto".

Why? To make a political point, to show the USA that this is what you get if you mess with North Korea.

But the trip made last week by Joseph Y. Yun, the top U.S. envoy on North Korea, was starkly different. "And frankly, if he were brought home sooner, I think the results would have been a lot different".

South Korea also confirmed on Tuesday, June 20, that a crashed drone it discovered earlier this month was North Korean and photographs recovered from the drone show proof of its route from North Korea into South Korea. "At least I know China tried", Trump wrote on Twitter.

This announcement comes after Otto Warmbier died Monday.

Relations between the US and North Korea have rapidly deteriorated over the past months, due to the latter's unwillingness to discontinue nuclear tests and, more recently, the death of Otto Warmbier.

China-based Koryo Tours, which has been going to North Korea since 1993 and takes about 2,000 tourists there a year, said the tragedy had prompted it to reconsider taking U.S. citizens to the North.



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