North Korea has strongly denied allegations that it has a hand in the death of Otto Warmbier an American student who it detained for more than one year for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster.
The denial is coming on the heels of efforts by the United States to ascertain the circumstances that led to Warmbier’s death days after he fell into coma and was subsequently released.
An article published by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said North Korea was never cruel to Warmbier neither did they torture him.
KCNA said Pyongyang dealt with Warmbier according to domestic law and international standards in spite serving a sentence of hard labour.
It would be recalled that North Korea released Warmbier last week for what it described as humanitarian reasons.
Warmbier however, died on Monday in a U.S. hospital after he was brought back last week in a coma but Pyongyang has said he had contracted botulism.
In contrary, U.S. doctors said he had suffered “respiratory distress,” as the oxygen supply to the brain was cut off.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. will “hold North Korea accountable” for Warmbier’s “unjust imprisonment,” and is also demanding the release of three other Americans who are being detained.
U.S. lawmakers are also calling for a response to Pyongyang.
Senator Ted Cruz from Texas said: “the North Korean regime is mistaken if it believes that its barbaric mistreatment of an American citizen held in depraved captivity for over a year will pass quietly.
U.S. President Donald Trump in response said North Korea’s treatment of Warmbier was a total disgrace, describing the North Korean government as “a brutal regime.”
The U.S. will “be able to handle it,” Trump added.
The present U.S. administration under Trump had called for action against North Korea in the wake of its missile tests in violation of the United Nations (UN) principles.
As the rogue regime repeatedly threatened the U.S. and its regional allies, testing missiles at least nine times since Trump’s election, the administration looked to China to help.
Trump had said the U.S. can deal with North Korea alone if China failed to cooperate.
“While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi and China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out,” Trump tweeted.