Last year in January 2016 an American tourist visiting North Korea was sentenced to 15 years hard labor for stealing a propaganda poster. 17 months later, the North Korean government allegedly claimed that Otto was sick with botulism, a very rare type of food poisoning caused by the bacteria in unclean food. Then Otto was given a sleeping pill by the North Korean government and he mysteriously slipped in a coma. On humanitarian grounds, the government flew him back to the U.S where he shortly died.
Medical officials from U.C health in Cincinnati were quick to dismiss the North Korean statement. While answering a question regarding the possibility of botulism, one of the senior directors answered: “we preformed electromyography and nerve conduction studies; no stats did reveal [any further evidence] of botulism at this time.” Thus, it is obvious that the statement released by North Korea was not only a sham but the regime was also purposefully trying to cover up a murder. Some sources claim that Otto’s death was a case of oxygen deprivation torture gone wrong; however, it is not set in stone of whether that allegation is true.
As one could expect the response to such a lie would not be one taken lightly by the U.S government, especially by president Trump. During a press conference, Trump mentioned the following regarding Otto’s death: “It’s a total disgrace what had happened to Otto, that should never ever be allowed to happen.” Trump later tweeted about how negotiations with China against North Korea failed:
While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 20, 2017
Ever since the miscalculation of the Korean war, China staging a surprise attack against what would have been a unified Korea; the U.S has been at very shaky terms with North Korea. The recent nuclear missile tests are not helping repair these tensions either. Now these tensions are only going to worsen due to an American killed by a foreign, authoritative regime. The U.S is considering having a waiver system in place that states that the U.S cannot assure the safety of citizens visiting North Korea. The U.S may even bar travel from North Korea completely. At this point it is hard to speculate what will happen; instead, one should find a way to stop this from happening ever again. Ben Shapiro later noted in his podcast later today “it is an act of war, technically, for a foreign government to detain, torture, and murder an American citizen.” Hopefully, such a proposition would not lead to war but that is always a possibility.
In short, the prospect of losing a son to an oppressive overseas dictatorship is truly terrifying.