The father of Otto Warmbier, who was taken captive in North Korea and later died upon his return to the United States, will travel to the Winter Olympics with Vice President Mike Pence this week.
Fred Warmbier, who previously attended Donald Trump’s State of the Union address, will join Pence at the Opening Ceremonies in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the Washington Post reports.
Pence leaves on February 5 for a trip to Japan and South Korea, where he will lead the U.S. delegation in the Opening Ceremonies.
Fred Warmbier (pictured next to wife Cindy during Donald Trump’s State of the Union address) will travel with Mike Pence to the Winter Olympics
Fred and Cindy’s son, Otto, fell into a coma while in captivity in North Korea. Upon his return to the United States he was in a near vegetative state and died
The Winter Olympics are being held in Pyeongchang, South Korea this year
White House officials told the Washington Post that Pence will speak against North Korean propaganda and nuclear aggression while in South Korea.
The news comes after Fred and his wife, Cindy, attended the State of the Union address this past Tuesday.
‘We need only look at the depraved character of the North Korean regime to understand the nature of the nuclear threat it could pose to America and our allies,’ Trump said during his speech.
He mentioned Otto towards the end of his speech. Otto was a University of Virginia student from Cincinnati, Ohio, who was taken captive when he took a tour in North Korea.
‘At its conclusion, this wonderful man was arrested and charged with crimes against the state,’ Trump stated.
Pence is expected to discuss North Korean propaganda and nuclear aggression while in South Korea
‘After a shameful trial, the dictatorship sentenced Otto to 15 years of hard labor, before returning him to America last June – horribly injured and on the verge of death. He passed away just days after his return,’ Trump stated.
Otto was charged with ‘hostile acts against the DPRK.’
‘You are powerful witnesses to a menace that threatens our world, and your strength inspires us all,’ Trump said in reference to the Warmbier family.
‘Tonight, we pledge to honor Otto’s memory with American resolve,’ he said, and then, departing from his text, added as the Warmbiers stood up to a lengthy ovation: ‘Special people.’
Fred later told the Washington Post the experience was ‘very emotional’ and that it ‘felt good’ to see his son honored by the president.
Warmbier was detained in North Korea when he joined a New Year’s Eve tour to the country at the beginning of 2016.
He was arrested as he was leaving Pyongyang.
‘You are powerful witnesses to a menace that threatens our world, and your strength inspires us all,’ Trump said during his State of the Union in reference to the Warmbier family
Kim Jong-Un was widely condemned for the death of Warmbier, a University of Virginia student from Ohio
Warmbier was returned to the United States in June 2017 after having been in a coma for more than a year.
Shocked doctors from the Cincinnati Medical Center, where Otto was rushed immediately after he returned to the United States, said he suffered extensive brain damage.
The family declined an autopsy and his cause of death remains unknown.