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USA coroner investigating death of student freed from N Korea

20 June 2017

An American university student who was held prisoner in North Korea for 17 months died at a hospital in OH this week, just days after he was released from captivity in a coma. The family of Warmbier who died days after being released from North Korea in a coma says the 22-year-old "has completed his journey home".

Wambier's parents did not cite a specific cause of death, but cited "awful, torturous mistreatment" by North Korea.

The North Korean government said that Warmbier had contracted botulism and then taken a sleeping pill.

Other well-known North Korea tour operators, including Koryo Tours, founded by British expatriates in Beijing, and Uri Tours, with offices in New Jersey and Shanghai, said this week that they were "reviewing" their policies for American citizens ahead of a possible travel ban that has been mooted by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The government sentenced him to 15 years of hard labor.

The United States, South Korea and others have accused North Korea of using foreign detainees has hostages to secure diplomatic concessions.

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The centrist People's Party also "strongly denounced the North's inhumane and cruel action", while also expressing concern about an upcoming summit between South Korea and the U.S.

"We can not know for sure that North Korea killed Mr Warmbier but I believe it is quite clear that they have a heavy responsibility in the process that led to his death", the president added.

"The devastating loss of Otto Warmbier's life has led us to reconsider our position on accepting American tourists", it said in a statement.

Moon, who will meet Trump at the White House on June 29, condemned North Korea for its treatment of Warmbier, calling it "greatly deplorable".

In an interview with CBS that aired Tuesday, Moon says North Korea is responsible for Warmbier's death.

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The government of China, North Korea's main ally, said Warmbier's death was a tragedy.

The parents said that when their son arrived in OH, he was unable to speak or respond to stimuli, but the "anguished" look on his face changed the day after his arrival and he seemed to be "at peace". "Considering these facts and this tragic outcome we will no longer be organising tours for U.S. citizens to North Korea". A Japanese diplomat said Warmbier's death showed that now was not the time to talk to North Korea and that allies must maintain unity in pressuring Pyongyang with sanctions. "I believe we must now have the perception that North Korea is an irrational regime", said Moon, who was elected in May. However, he was freed and returned to the USA last Tuesday with North Korea saying it was on humanitarian grounds. They said they wanted to cut off a source of foreign currency to Kim Jong Un's government and prevent it from detaining more USA citizens.

Kenneth Bae, who was held in North Korea from 2012-2014, also called on the secretive dictatorship to release the three Americans still detained there.

"His passing today is a loss for OH and for all of us", the senator said in a statement. Pyongyang is still holding three Americans hostage, CNN reported.

Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who has helped free other Americans in North Korea, said he had met North Korean envoys 20 times during Mr Warmbier's incarceration and on no occasion was his health mentioned.

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It bears noting that Iran felt it had the right to arrest those prisoners because they held dual citizenship (Iran and United States).

USA coroner investigating death of student freed from N Korea