Otto Warmbier dead: Trump condemns ‘brutal’ North Korea regime

President Trump slammed North Korea’s “brutal regime” Monday after the death of college student Otto Warmbier, who was released by the communist nation in a coma last week.

“Lot of bad things happened, ” Trump said during a White House meeting with technology CEOs, but at least we got him home to be with his parents.”

“It’s a brutal regime, ” Trump went on, “and we’ll be able to handle it.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the United States held North Korea accountable for Warmbier’s “unjust imprisonment” and demanded that the country release three other Americans it is holding prisoner for alleged crimes against the nation. The U.S. government has previously accused North Korea of using such detainees as political pawns.

Warmbier was held by North Korea for more than 17 months before he was medically evacuated June 13. He died Monday at University of Cincinnati Medical Center, near where he grew up in suburban Wyoming.

Warmbiers family said in a statement that “the awful torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans” meant that “no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today.”

In a written statement, Trump used to say “Otto’s fate deepens my Administration’s determination to prevent such tragedies from befalling innocent people at the hands of regimes that do not respect the principles of the rule of statute or fundamental human decency.”

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who has led the charge for tougher sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear weapon program, said “Countless innocent men and women have died at the hand of the Northern korean offenders, but the singular instance of Otto Warmbier touches the American heart like no other.

“While Otto Warmbier’s memory will always be a blessing to his loved ones, ” Haley added, “it will also serve as an indelible reminder to us of the barbaric nature of the North Korean dictatorship.”

Warmbier had traveled to North Korea as part of a tour group when he was incarcerated at Pyongyang’s airport in January 2016. The company that coordinated the trip-up, Young Pioneer Tours, announced after Warmbier’s death that it would no longer coordinate tours of North Korea for U.S. citizens.

“The assessment of risk for Americans visiting North Korea has become too high, ” said the company, which has also offered tours to Iran, Iraq and former Soviet republicans and boasted of booking “budget tours to destinations your mom would rather you stayed away from.”

The State Department warns against travel to North Korea, but does not explicitly precluded it. While nearly all Americans who have been there have left without incident, guests can be abruptly seized and face lengthy incarceration for what might seem like minor infractions.

On Capitol Hill, Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif ., the chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, called for the U.S. to ban all tourist travel to North Korea.

“Travel propaganda lures far too many people to North Korea, ” Royce told. “This is a regime that regularly kidnaps foreign citizens and maintains 120,000 North Koreans in barbaric gulags.”

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz ., said Warmbier was “murdered by the[ North Korean dictator] Kim Jong-un[ sic] regime.”

“In the final year of his life, he lived the nightmare in which the Northern korean people have been trapped for 70 years: forced labor, mass starvation, systematic cruelty, torment, and assassination, ” McCain said, subsequently adding, “The United States of America cannot and should not tolerate the murder of its citizens by hostile powers.”

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said North Korea should be “universally denounced for its abhorrent behaviour. He added that Warmbiers family “had to endure more than any household should have to bear.”

Ohios other senator, Democrat Sherrod Brown, said the country’s “despicable actions … must be condemned.”

Our hearts are transgress for Ottos family and everyone who knew and loved him, Brown added.

The state’s governor, John Kasich, described Warmbier as “a young man of exceptional spirit.”

“This horrendous situation further underscores the evil, oppressive nature of the North Korean regime that has such neglect for human life, ” Kasich says.

The Associated Press contributed to this report .

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