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The parents of Otto Warmbier, the U.S. student sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in North Korea, are hoping for their son’s participation in any negotiations with the reclusive regime amid bilateral tensions.
Otto was arrested on January 2, 2016, for allegedly stealing a political banner from his hotel in Pyongyang. Later, he was made to confess his crime before a panel — a bizarre admission widely speculated to be under duress.
Now, as the Trump administration exerts more pressure on North Korea, Fred and Cindy Warmbier are attempting to seize an opportunity to help their son, Fox News reported.
Fred told Fox & Friends on Monday, “Nothing Otto may or may not have done in North Korea rises to this level of punishment. We’re here to make sure that Otto is included in any dialogue or diplomacy with North Korea.”
To date, Otto has served a little more than a year of his sentence, but his parents are determined to skip the wait. Fred claimed that he and Cindy were “urged to keep quiet” over the matter during the Obama administration.
Cindy addressed President Trump, who previously vowed to deal with North Korea with or without China’s help:
“You are doing a great job. Thank you for putting attention on something that needs to be addressed.”
“We think this would just be a great goodwill gesture and a good start of dialogue to release Otto now,” the concerned mother added.
North Korea continues to make headlines with alleged developments in its infamous nuclear weapons program. Recently, it promised to destroy its enemies with “five million nuclear bombs,” warning that “the Earth will break” in the process.