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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 March 2019

Parents of tortured student criticise Donald Trump over North Korea

Fred and Cindy Warmbier slam ‘excuses’ and 'lavish praise' for Kim Jong Un

Cindy and Fred Warmbier at the UN in 2018 where they spoke out  against the human rights record of North Korea. REUTERS
Cindy and Fred Warmbier at the UN in 2018 where they spoke out  against the human rights record of North Korea. REUTERS

The parents of a US student who died after being tortured in North Korea said they held Kim Jong Un responsible for his death, in stark contrast to the conciliatory approach taken by President Donald Trump.

Fred and Cindy Warmbier rebuked the US president in a statement issued on Friday after Mr Trump said he took Kim “at his word” when he said he was unaware of the mistreatment of their son Otto, who later died from injuries sustained during his detention.

“We have been respectful during this summit process. Now we must speak out,” the couple said in a statement.

“Kim and his evil regime are responsible for the death of our son Otto. Kim and his evil regime are responsible for unimaginable cruelty and inhumanity. No excuses or lavish praise can change that.”

After a meeting in Hanoi Thursday that ended without progress on elimination of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal, Mr Trump told reporters that his counterpart “felt bad” about the imprisonment and torture of Mr Warmbier, who died after being detained in North Korea for more than 17 months.

“In those prisons and those camps you have a lot of people, and some really bad things happened to Otto, some really, really bad things,” Mr Trump said.

"But he tells me he didn’t know about it, and I will take him at his word.”

Updated: March 1, 2019 08:16 PM

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