The parents of Otto Warmbier, an American college student who died days after he was released from a North Korean prison last year watched Tuesday as President Donald Trump called North Korea’s leadership “depraved” and threatening.
“You are powerful witnesses to a menace that threatens our world, and your strength inspires us all,” Trump said, addressing parents Fred and Cindy Warmbier, who attended the State of the Union address with Otto’s two siblings. “Tonight, we pledge to honor Otto’s memory with American resolve.”
Otto Warmbier was arrested when he visited North Korea as a tourist in 2016. His parents have said he was tortured in prison and was blind, deaf and comatose when North Korea granted a medical release last June. North Korea denied any wrongdoing.
The family put a dramatic personal face on the threat posed by North Korea, which has raced to build a nuclear weapon that could be delivered to U.S. shores as soon as this year.
Trump did not propose any new measures against North Korea on Tuesday, but touted his administration’s resolve and its policy of “maximum pressure” on the regime.
“We need only look at the depraved character of the North Korean regime to understand the nature of the nuclear threat it could pose to America and our allies,” Trump said.
“Past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation. I will not repeat the mistakes of past administrations that got us into this dangerous position.”
(c) 2018, The Washington Post · Anne Gearan