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Otto Warmbier's tour group: No more Americans to N. Korea

20 June 2017

The death of Otto Warmbier, the American student held captive by North Korea for 17 months, has died just days after being released.

In an emailed statement to USA Today, Young Pioneer Tours said the risk assessment "for Americans visiting North Korea has become to high", in light of Warmbier's death.

Just days after 22-year-old Otto Warmbier was returned to the USA with severe brain damage, his parents announced his passing on Monday afternoon.

Warmbier's death today marks the first time that a United States citizen has died from injuries sustained under North Korea after returning to the United States and there's likely to be pressure on the Trump administration to respond.

Ohio Senator Rob Portman, who worked to free Warmbier, called him a "promising young man", and said "his passing today is a loss for Ohio and for all of us".

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Twenty-two-year-old Otto Warmbier (WORM'-bir) died in Cincinnati on Monday, not long after his return to OH after almost a year and a half in North Korean captivity.

Trump said he had spoken with Warmbier's parents, telling reporters in the Oval Office that it was "incredible what they've gone through". The Secretary of State has already suggested a ban on Americans traveling to the North.

"Working with such a country, we must achieve the goal of the complete dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear program", Moon said.

U.S. Sen. John McCain says Americans who are "stupid" enough to still want to visit North Korea should be required to sign a waiver absolving the U.S. government of any blame if they're harmed while there.

His parents thanked the medical professionals at the hospital who they said had done everything they could for their son.

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The University of Virginia student was detained at the airport as he was leaving Pyongyang in January 2016.

Korean Americans Tony Kim and Kim Hak Song who worked at the foreign-funded Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) were recently detained for hostile acts against the state, according to North Korea's state media. Doctors in the United States said he'd suffered severe brain damage, but were not able to pinpoint a reason.

He was sentenced in March last year to 15 years in prison with hard labour.

Trump added that the USA would "handle" the North Korean regime, vowing "to prevent such tragedies from befalling innocent people at the hands of regimes that do not respect the rule of law or basic human decency".

"A lot of bad things happened, but at least we got him home to be with his parents where they were so happy to see him even though he was in very tough condition", Trump said.

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North Korea said he had been in a coma for a year after contracting botulism but his family say he was subjected to "awful torturous mistreatment".