Long lines for Otto Warmbier farewell

Danny Woods
June 24, 2017

The tweet came a day after the death of Mr Otto Warmbier - an American college student who returned in a coma from a prison in North Korea - and on the eve of a US-China strategic security dialogue.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who had met with North Korean officials in NY to press for Warmbier's release, attended the funeral.

Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency denied that North Korea cruelly treated or tortured Otto Warmbier and accused the United States and South Korea of a smear campaign that insulted what it called its "humanitarian" treatment of him.

The spokesman said it was a "mystery" as to why Warmbier died days after returning home, but compared his death to the case of another American detainee, Evan Hunziker.

"The terrible torturous mistreatment our son experienced at the hands of the North Koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today", reads a statement issued by Warmbier's family after his death. They gave an interview to Fox News host Tucker Carlson, in which they said the State Department had been "absolutely no" help in getting their son back and that when they met with then-Secretary of State John Kerry, they found him to be "totally exasperated and overwhelmed with North Korea". The attendees included Ambassador Joseph Yun, the US special envoy who traveled to Pyongyang to bring Warmbier back.

North Korea on Thursday rebuked President Moon Jae-in for suggesting that Seoul is open to unconditional talks if Pyongyang stops provocative acts, urging him to show a proper attitude toward inter-Korean ties.

The service, which lasted a little less than an hour, concluded with Warmbier's casket being carried out as a bag-piper played the spiritual "Going Home".

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Warmbier, an OH native and student at the University of Virginia, was arrested in North Korea in January 2016 while visiting as a tourist. North Korea claimed that he slipped into a coma after contracting botulism and taking a sleeping pill shortly after his sentencing.

Thousands paid their respects to the young man who died after 17 months in captivity in North Korea. Warmbier was accused in January 2015 of trying to steal a propaganda banner at his hotel while visiting North Korea, tearfully confessed and was convicted of subversion.

Officials with the Hamilton County Coroner's Office announced Tuesday morning they were investigating Warmbier's death. According to his family's wishes, no autopsy was performed.

Doctors at the hospital said Warmbier had suffered a severe neurological injury from an unknown cause.

Shaung faced several questions on North Korea during the briefing, though genereally did not deviate from Beijing's normal stance.

"What you are seeing I think is the American people's frustration with the regime that provokes and provokes and provokes and basically (is) playing outside the rules, plays fast and loose with the truth, that sort of thing".

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