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North Korea releases a puzzling statement on the death of Otto Warmbier

Image source: TheBlaze

North Korea's state-run media claimed Friday that it had no idea why American college student Otto Warmbier died after 17 months in North Korean captivity.

Warmbier returned to the United States on June 13 in a coma and died less than a week after his return.

"The fact that Warmbier died suddenly in less than a week just after his return to the U.S. ... is a mystery to us as well," a North Korean foreign ministry spokesman said, according to a report by Reuters.

The spokesperson also claimed that Warmbier was provided "with medical treatment" while serving his sentence in North Korea and was returned to the United States "alive" after the 22-year-old college student's heart had "nearly stopped."

The unnamed North Korean spokesperson said that the Obama administration was to blame for not intervening on Warmbier's behalf sooner, calling Warmbier a "victim of policy of 'strategic patience.'"

This comment seemed to echo President Donald Trump's sentiments on Warmbier's death, which he issued in a statement from the White House on Tuesday.

About the death of the American student, Trump said, “Frankly, if he were brought home sooner, I think the results would have been a lot different.”

North Korean officials sentenced Warmbier to 15 years of hard labor after he attempted to steal a propaganda poster from his hotel.

Last week, the North Korean government allowed a State Department official to secure Warmbier's homeward transfer on "humanitarian grounds in consideration of his bad health."

When Warmbier returned to the U.S., he was in a coma.

Warmbier's parents claimed that U.S. doctors said that Warmbier had a significant amount of brain damage, which could be chalked up to “awful torturous mistreatment” that he may have endured during his imprisonment in North Korea.

At the request of his family, an autopsy was not performed on Warmbier to determine an official cause of death.

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