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Ex-UN ambassador: We need answers from North Korea

A former US ambassador to the United Nations on Sunday said North Korea needs to explain how an American university student the reclusive regime released last week had been in a coma for more than a year.

“North Korea has a lot of explaining to do. Why didn’t they notify the United States? Why didn’t they notify proper international medical authorities — the Swedish government that represents us?” Bill Richardson, who served under President Clinton, said on “The Cats Roundtable.”

Otto Warmbier, a University of Virginia student, had been in a coma since shortly after he was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in March 2016 for stealing a propaganda banner in North Korea.

When he returned to his home in Cincinnati, doctors found he was in a state of “unresponsive wakefulness.”

North Korean officials said Warmbier, 22, had fallen into a coma after he contracted botulism and was given a sleeping pill.

“We know very little about this leader Kim Jong Un, except he’s an unpredictable brat, and might be cruel — might be awfully cruel — if our young man was treated the way he was,” Richardson told John Catsimatidis on AM 970.

“There is some speculation that maybe [Warmbier] was tortured, beaten,” Richardson said. “We don’t know, John. The tragedy is that North Korea did not tell the United States for a full year.”

North Korea has been raising tensions in the area as it continues to experiment with developing a long-range missile that could carry a nuclear warhead to the continental United States.

The Trump administration has asked China to reach out to Kim’s regime to get it to curb its military ambitions.

“This is not a very good situation to try to improve the relationship with North Korea when they treat our people like this,” Richardson said.

He favors continuing efforts to reach a diplomatic solution and dismissed taking military action.

“I think eventually we are going to have to make a deal, and it is going to be very difficult. … But it is not easy. There are no good options when it comes to North Korea.”


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