North Korea says Trump's ‘exploiting’ Otto Warmbier’s death

North Korea was quick to strike back at assertions that it tortured imprisoned U.S. student Otto Warmbier, reports the Associated Press.

“The fact that the U.S. is employing even a dead person for the conspiracy campaign to fuel the international atmosphere of putting pressure on (North Korea) shows how vile and inveterate the hostility of the U.S. policy-makers towards (North Korea) is," a state-run newspaper quoted an unidentified North Korean official.

statement released by the nation’s foreign ministry reads, in part, “Trump and his clique, for their anti-DPRK propaganda, are again exploiting the death of Otto Warmbier, an American college student who had been under reform through labour for the criminal act he committed against the (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) DPRK and died after returning to the US." 

Those statements follow comments made by both Otto Warmbier’s parents and President Trump.

RELATED: Otto Warmbier: A timeline of the student's North Korea imprisonment

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Otto Warmbier: A timeline of the student's North Korea imprisonment
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Otto Warmbier: A timeline of the student's North Korea imprisonment

January 2016: Warmbier is imprisoned in North Korea, charged with stealing an item that had a state propaganda slogan on it.

March 2016: Warmbier is sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in North Korea

March 2016 - 2017: The United States advocates for North Korea's allowing Sweden access to Warmbier and three other American citizens, pushing for their release.

January 2017: President Trump is inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States, signaling a seat change in American foreign diplomacy.

February 2017: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson briefs President Trump on the situation surrounding Warmbier's imprisonment in North Korea.Trump directs Tillerson to take all appropriate measures in securing the release of U.S. hostages in North Korea.

May 2017:  The U.S. State Department and North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs hold a meeting in Oslo, Norway, during which they agree to the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang's access to all four detainees. Sweden is later granted these visitation rights, prompting North Korea to request a meeting with the United States.

June 6, 2017 - State Department Special Representative Joseph Yun meets with North Korean ambassador Pak Gil Yon at the United Nations in New York. Yun learns during this meeting that Warmbier has been in a coma for over a year.

June 6-11, 2017: Secretary of State Tillerson instructs Yun to travel to North Korea with the mission of bringing back Warmbier. They travel with a medical team to Pyongyang.

June 12, 2017: Through Yun, the United States is able for the first time to confirm Warmbier's status. The U.S. demands Warmbier be released on humanitarian conditions. North Korea complies.

June 13, 2017: Warmbier is evacuated from North Korea, travels to Ohio where he will reunite with his family.

June 13, 2017: Otto Warmbier arrives home to Cincinnati, Ohio
June 15, 2017: Otto Warmbier's father, Fred, speaks out during a press conference on his son's return home.
June 15, 2017: Doctors give updates on Warmbier's status during a news conference at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.
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In a Tuesday morning interview with ‘Fox & Friends,’ the Warmbiers said their son was returned with horrifying bodily damage, including bottom teeth that looked like they’d been rearranged by “a pair of pliers.” 

“They kidnapped Otto, they tortured him, [and] they intentionally injured him. They are not victims; they are terrorists," Fred Warmbier, Otto’s father, asserted.

Soon after, Trump tweeted, “Great interview on @foxandfriends with the parents of Otto Warmbier: 1994 – 2017. Otto was tortured beyond belief by North Korea."

However, coroner Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco “who examined Warmbier’s body after his death in June, said there was no clear evidence of physical torture – including no recently broken bones or damaged teeth,” reports the Guardian.

Sammarco did state that Otto’s condition stemmed from, “an unknown insult (injury) more than a year prior to death.” 

NPR reports, North Korea sentenced him to 15 years of imprisonment and hard labor in March of 2016 after he was “accused of trying to steal a propaganda poster.”

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