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Korea says it's the 'biggest victim' in student's death

Korea says it's the 'biggest victim' in student's death”

US college student Otto Warmbier died just days after returning to the United States after spending 17 months imprisoned in North Korea, but the country's state-run media believes the real victim in Warmbier's death has been overlooked.

In its first public reaction to Warmbier's death, a Foreign Ministry spokesman also tried to shift blame onto the administration of President Barack Obama, blaming it for refusing to have a dialogue with Pyongyang and claiming it had never officially asked for Warmbier's release.

Doctors there said Warmbier had suffered a severe neurological injury from an unknown cause.

Sentenced to hard labor for stealing a political poster from a North Korean hotel, the 22-year-old Warmbier was medically evacuated in a coma last week after almost 18 months in captivity. "Our related institutions are treating criminals who committed crimes against [our] republic strictly based on domestic law and worldwide standards, and Warmbier was no different".

Two months later, he was found guilty of committing "hostile acts" against the North Korean regime and sentenced to 15 years' hard labor in a trial that reportedly lasted about an hour.

Meanwhile, North Korea is holding three other Americans as well as six South Koreans.

Mr Warmbier, 22, was arrested while visiting the reclusive country as a tourist. "To make it clear, we are the biggest victim of this incident", he said, calling the accusations of abuse "groundless".

A U.S. official said on Thursday that North Korea had conducted another test of a rocket engine believed to be linked to Pyongyang's ICBM programme.

US President Donald Trump has slammed the incarceration and eventual death of 22-year-old Otto Warmbier as "a total disgrace".

Inside the arts center, some of the personal items Warmbier took to North Korea were on display: a wallet, a University of Virginia notebook and the cream-colored linen blazer he wore there, CNN says.

Less than a week after returning to the United States after 17 months of detention in North Korea, his family announced Warmbier had "completed his journey home".

Some 2,500 mourners attended a Thursday morning memorial at Wyoming High School in the Cincinnati suburb of Wyoming.

North Korea still holds Kim Sang Duk and Kim Hak-song, academics who worked at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, and a businessman named Kim Dong Chul.

"The campaign of criticism against the DPRK that is being waged in the United States is reinforcing our resolution not to use humanitarianism or generosity toward our enemies and to further sharpen the blade of the law".



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