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Otto Warmbier parents in South Korea: Death of son was 'intentional act'

By
Elizabeth Shim
Cindy Warmbier and Fred Warmbier met with a South Korean lawmaker on Friday in Seoul. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Cindy Warmbier and Fred Warmbier met with a South Korean lawmaker on Friday in Seoul. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Parents of a U.S. college student who died after being released from North Korea in 2017 met with a South Korean opposition politician in Seoul on Friday.

Fred and Cindy Warmbier, who have become activists targeting North Korea human rights abuses since the death of their son, Otto Warmbier, met with Liberty Korea Party leader Hwang Kyo-ahn to discuss the Kim Jong Un regime, South Korean news service News 1 reported Friday.

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Hwang said his party is prepared to make a "strong response" against North Korea, "so these things will not happen again."

The former South Korean justice minister, who was in the middle of a hunger strike in protest of Seoul's policies, said his party will do more to hold Pyongyang accountable for its rights abuses.

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"We think it unfortunate Otto Warmbier became a victim," Hwang told the Warmbiers. "We will continue to work hard on behalf of North Korea human rights."

Hwang also thanked the Warmbiers for their activism and working with various international rights organizations, according to News 1.

South Korea passed a North Korea human rights act in 2016. Hwang suggested Friday during his meeting with the Warmbiers that their son's tragedy could have been averted if human rights were improved in the North.

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His death was an "intentional act," Cindy Warmbier said; Hwang agreed.

The Warmbiers are in Seoul to raise awareness of North Korea human rights abuses.

Korea Economic Daily and other news services reported Friday the Warmbiers are tracking North Korean assets around the world in order to hold Kim Jong Un accountable.

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In 2018 a U.S. federal judge ordered North Korea pay as much as $500 million in a wrongful death lawsuit, filed by the couple for their son.

There have been no official confirmations since October about compensation for the Warmbiers, following the sale of the Wise Honest, a North Korean cargo ship, after it was sold under orders of federal judges to compensate families of victims of North Korean abuse, including the Warmbiers.

Otto Warmbier died in his native Ohio a few days after being released from North Korea in 2017.

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