Meanwhile, North Korea says it won’t denuclearize unless U.S. nuclear threat is removed first.
The parents of Otto Warmbier, the college student who died after a year of North Korean imprisonment and torture over a stolen propaganda poster, are seeking more than $1 billion in damages from the rogue nation.
Fred and Cindy Warmbier of Wyoming, Ohio, requested $1.05 billion in punitive damages and about $46 million for the family’s suffering in a motion filed in October in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.
The motion is part of a civil lawsuit brought in April against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, alleging the “rogue regime” took Otto Warmbier hostage “for its own wrongful ends and brutally tortured and murdered him.”
…The Warmbiers’ suit is possible under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, a statute aimed at preventing state-sponsored terrorism. The suit cites North Korea’s history of torturing prisoners and sheds light on the suffering Otto Warmbier endured while in custody.
The $1.05 billion sought in punitive damages is about 2.5 percent of North Korea’s 2015 gross domestic product. The figure aims to serve as a deterrent for the country to “change its unlawful behavior in the future,” the motion states.
During June’s Singapore Summit, President Donald Trump said Otto Warmbier’s death “was not in vain” and helped spur the U. S. and North Korea into diplomatic talks. However, their proposed denuclearization plans have hit a snag.
North Korea said Thursday it will never unilaterally give up its nuclear weapons unless the United States first removes what Pyongyang called a nuclear threat. The surprisingly blunt statement jars with Seoul’s rosier presentation of the North Korean position and could rattle the fragile trilateral diplomacy to defuse a nuclear crisis that last year had many fearing war.
The latest from North Korea comes as the United States and North Korea struggle over the sequencing of the denuclearization that Washington wants and the removal of international sanctions desired by Pyongyang. The statement carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency also raises credibility problems for the liberal South Korean government, which has continuously claimed that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is genuinely interested in negotiating away his nuclear weapons as Seoul tries to sustain a positive atmosphere for dialogue.
The Trump administration’s special envoy for North Korea responded with more optimism in the wake of the blunt North Korean statement.
Stephen Biegun says ahead of a meeting with South Korean officials on Friday the allies are committed to ending seven decades of hostility and creating a “new, brighter future for all of the Korean people.”
Hopefully, 2019 will see some justice for the Warmbiers and progress on denuclearizing North Korea.DONATE
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