Mourners Gather for Funeral of Student Detained in N Korea


Pyongyang has criticized Washington for its handling of the death of a student who was returned to the United States after falling ill in custody, saying accusations that Otto Warmbier was tortured in North Korea are a pure "smear campaign".

A U.S. official said on Tuesday that spy satellites had detected new movements at North Korea's nuclear test site, but it was unclear if Pyongyang was preparing for a sixth nuclear test.

While Pyongyang accepted US demands for Warmbier's return on humanitarian grounds, Washington "totally distorted this truth and dared to clamor about "retaliation" and "pressure" on "dignified" North Korea, the spokesman told KCNA. Warmbier, 22, was arrested while visiting the reclusive country as a tourist.

His family said they were told that he had been in a coma since shortly after he was sentenced to prison with hard labour in March 2016.

Throngs of mourners paid their final respects to Otto Warmbier Thursday at a public funeral at the high school he attended near Cincinnati.

The North previously released American detainees it had accused and convicted of crimes against the state on the occasion of high-level visits by USA officials.

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Whatever caused American college student Otto Warmbier's health to erode during his imprisonment in North Korea may remain a mystery - at least for a while longer. Tillerson said North Korea was the "top security threat" to the US. US doctors who traveled to the North last week to bring Warmbier home recognized that the North had provided him with medical treatment, the spokesman said. North Korea accepted repeated requests from the present US administration, the spokesman said, and repatriated the student on humanitarian grounds "in consideration of his bad health".

The exact cause of his death is unclear.

According to, Warmbier's family requested no autopsy be performed on their son, and only permitted the coroner's office to perform an "external examination".

"China is North Korea's only ally and China is the country that provides the most economic assistance to North Korea", Moon said.

In an interview with ABC News, Rodman's agent credited Warmbier's release to Rodman's brief visit to Pyongyang earlier this month. "I'm going over there out of the kindness of my heart just to try to help, and next thing I know, I come back and I'm like, 'Wow, what did I do that was so bad?" he said before breaking down.