Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

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North Korea said Mr Warmbier had contracted botulism, a rare illness that causes paralysis, soon after his trial in March 2016.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in condemned North Korea Tuesday for the death of an American student who died after his release from detention in the communist North, calling Pyongyang an "irrational regime". He died six days later surrounded by relatives in his hometown of Cincinnati. The North Koreans kept his condition a secret for over a year, depriving him of the quality medical treatment he desperately needed.

According to Mr Warmbier's parents, the North Koreans told their American counterparts that his coma was induced by a sleeping pill that he took after contracting botulism, a food-borne illness.

Last month, an unidentified PUST official told Reuters that Kim's wife had returned to the United States, but The New York Times reports that she is still believed to be in North Korea.

U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who heads the Senate Armed Services Committee and who suffered torture in North Vietnamese imprisonment during the Vietnam War, accused the North Koreans of murder.

"The United States once again condemns the brutality of the North Korean regime as we mourn its latest victim", Trump added.

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"The bad torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today", Warmbier's parents said after their son's death. Doctors in Cincinnati said he had "severe injury to all regions of the brain" and was in a state of "unresponsive wakefulness".

He had planned to study in China during his third year at college, and booked a five-day trip across the border to North Korea in December 2015 as part of an organised tour.

His father, Fred Warmbier, said last week that he believed Otto had been fighting for months to stay alive to return to his family. Now I hope the American government will help, etc., etc.

Doctors caring for him last week described him as having extensive brain damage that left him in a state of "unresponsive wakefulness."Moon said that while "we can not know for sure that North Korea killed Mr. Warmbier".

A public funeral service for a USA student who was detained in North Korea and eventually released in a coma has been scheduled for Thursday at his hometown high school in Ohio.

The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that USA diplomats have already held discussions for more than a year with North Korea's top nuclear negotiator, focused on freeing American prisoners.

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North Korean authorities reportedly detained Kim on April 23 at the Pyongyang International Airport as he was attempting to leave the country with his wife. He was paraded in front of a kangaroo court, where he tearfully apologized before being sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. He arrived in OH on June 13, 2017, after being held for more than 17 months.

Based in China, the touring company promises "adventure holidays"; trips like the one Warmbier took commonly include round-trip travel from Beijing, with several guides for groups of up to 24 tourists.

The e-mail continued: "The devastating loss of Otto Warmbier's life has led us to reconsider our position on accepting American tourists".

Warmbier's parents haven't cited a cause of death, but "awful, torturous mistreatment" by North Korea.

He was arrested in North Korea while visiting as a tourist.

The United States stations tens of thousands of troops in South Korea and Japan. North Korea accuses Washington and South Korea of sending spies to overthrow its government.

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"It's unlikely that Washington and Seoul will let Warmbier's death entirely derail their efforts at talks because North Korea's nuclear weapons program is such a serious and immediate threat", said Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Seoul's Dongguk University.

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