Trump faces 'land of lousy options' with North Korea after Otto Warmbier's death

June 21, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump is facing some grim math. With one American declared dead after being released from a prison in North Korea and three still in captivity there, he'll have to reckon with how to respond to a regime once dubbed by former U.S. official Victor Cha as "the land of lousy options."

 

Otto Warmbier, 22, died at home on Monday, just days after being "medically evacuated" in a coma following 17 months of detention in North Korea. Warmbier, a tourist at the time, was detained in 2015 and convicted of "hostile acts" for allegedly taking down a propaganda poster. He was sentenced to 15 years of hard labour.

 

Offering condolences on Monday, the president vowed "to handle" the isolated communist nation. But experts say Trump, who in April advocated for a new North Korean strategy of "maximum pressure and engagement," might now be tempted to reconsider taking a tougher line on Pyongyang following the loss of an American life.

 

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