Ex-detainee believes torture possible in death of Otto Warmbier

Pablo Tucker
June 22, 2017

The news comes following the death of U.S. student Otto Warmbier on Monday - just days after he was returned to his family in an unconscious state last week after being released by Kim Jong-un's officials for "humanitarian reasons".

The two leaders met in Florida in April and Trump has praised Xi for working on the issue, despite only modest steps so far by Beijing.

Asked whether Bae thinks Warmbier was physically mistreated given the threats he received in captivity, Bae said it is possible the college student was "threatened" or that he was "physically tortured or attacked".

Phil Robertson, a deputy director at U.S. NGO Human Rights Watch, said the group has called on North Korea to immediately release the remaining detainees: three Americans, one Canadian and six South Koreans, according to RFA.

Given how ardently the United States had sought the cooperation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump upended much of that work in 140 characters, tweeting that Chinese efforts have "not worked out". "There's no way for me to know that for sure".

Mr Trump's administration has appeared confrontational towards North Korea, and has declared an end to a period of "strategic patience" from Washington.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis vowed at the same press conference to "continue to take necessary measures to defend ourselves and our allies" against North Korea, which is working to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the US.

But the trip made last week by Joseph Y. Yun, the top United States envoy on North Korea, was starkly different. The White House and the State Department said they were considering options in response to his death, including a travel ban on Americans visiting North Korea.

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.

US President Donald Trump's administration worked to secure his return.

He called Kim Jong-un an unreasonable leader and a very risky person but said Seoul and Washington must deal with him as Kim holds effective control over North Korea. "But by no means will China, nor will Chinese society permit it to, act as a "US ally" in pressuring North Korea", it said.

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

"I think we should strongly consider it", Corker said, per the AP. Warmbier allegedly stole some North Korean propaganda during a tourist visit and was detained for "hostile actions against the state" when he tried to leave the country. Trump's tweet about China took some advisers by surprise.

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