Thursday 25 April 2019

White House U-turn over Warmbier death

Injuries: Otto Warmbier (22) died shortly after he was flown home in a coma after being held by North Korea for 17 months. Photo: Reuters
Injuries: Otto Warmbier (22) died shortly after he was flown home in a coma after being held by North Korea for 17 months. Photo: Reuters

Doina Chiacu

US President Donald Trump believes North Korea is responsible for Otto Warmbier's death, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said yesterday, after the family of the former American college student blamed North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

"The president agrees with the Warmbier family and holds North Korea responsible for Otto Warmbier's death," Ms Conway said.

Mr Trump drew criticism during this week's summit in Vietnam after he praised Mr Kim and said he accepted his claims not to have been aware of how Mr Warmbier was treated.

"He tells me that he didn't know about it, and I will take him at his word," Mr Trump told a news conference.

Ms Conway said Mr Trump still held North Korea responsible, but stopped short of laying blame on the leader of the reclusive communist nation.

"What he said was that Chairman Kim says, what he believes Chairman Kim to have said, was that he was not aware of what had happened to Otto Warmbier when it happened," she said.

Mr Warmbier's family spoke out yesterday and said they believed Mr Kim had clear responsibility.

Mr Warmbier (22) died on June 19, 2017, in his home in Ohio shortly after he was flown home in a coma after being held by North Korea for 17 months.

Irish Independent

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