SEOUL, South Korea — In his first one-on-one interview since being elected, South Korean President Moon Jae-in speaks with “CBS This Morning” co-host Norah O’Donnell about the recent death of Otto Warmbier, the American student who was detained by North Korea in January 2016 and released last week in a coma.
Norah O’Donnell: We have learned that Otto Warmbier, a 22-year-old American student, has died because of what happened to him in North Korea. What are your thoughts on his passing?
President Moon: First of all, I would like to convey my deepest condolences to the bereaved family of Mr. Otto Warmbier and the American people for the sorrow and shock they are suffering through.
Moon: We can make speculations that there were many unjust and cruel treatments to Mr. Warmbier. And I strongly condemn such cruel actions by North Korea. Even today, there are many Korean nationals and American citizens who are detained in North Korea. I also urge North Korea to return these people to their families.
O’Donnell: Sen. John McCain has said that Otto Warmbier was murdered by the Kim Jong Un regime. Do you believe the North Koreans should be held responsible for his death?
Moon: Yes… This had happened while Mr. Warmbier was in the detention of North Korean authorities. … We cannot know for sure that North Korea killed Mr. Warmbier. But I believe it is quite clear that they have a heavy responsibility in the process that led to Mr. Warmbier’s death.
O’Donnell: How does this affect your efforts to restart the dialogue with North Korea?
Moon: I believe we must now have the perception that North Korea is an irrational regime. Working with such a country, we must achieve the goal of the complete dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear program.
O’Donnell: How do you sit knee to knee,…