South Korean President Moon Jae-in says North Korea bears “heavy responsibility” for Otto Warmbier’s death

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.   

“CBS This Morning” co-host Norah O’Donnell and South Korean President Moon Jae-in

CBS News

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.

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.

How do you sit knee to knee,…

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