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North Korea: Detained student ‘confesses’ to trying to steal propaganda

American student Otto Warmbier, who was detained at the end of a tour of North Korea on the 2nd of January, has ‘confessed’ to committing ‘severe crimes’ against the state. In the video provided by a North Korean news agency, Mr Warmbier discusses his crime and his treatment since his detention. The language is very much what you would expect in such circumstances.

From the AP  –

US Student Held in North Korea Apologizes

From Reuters

North Korea says U.S. student confessed to theft of item with propaganda slogan

A U.S. student held in North Korea since early January was detained for trying to steal an item bearing a propaganda slogan from his Pyongyang hotel and has confessed to “severe crimes” against the state, the North’s official media said on Monday.

Otto Warmbier, 21, a University of Virginia student, was detained before boarding his flight to China over an unspecified incident at his hotel, his tour agency told Reuters in January.

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From the Guardian

US accuses North Korea of using detained student ‘for propaganda’

In a prepared statement read out before TV cameras, Warmbier said a female member of Friendship United Methodist Church in Wyoming, Ohio, had offered him a used car worth $10,000 if he could return with the banner as a “trophy” from North Korea.

According to North Korean state news agency KCNA, the woman had also promised to pay Warmbier’s mother $200,000 if he was arrested and detained in the North.

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From the Wall Street Journal

American Student Detained in North Korea Apologizes

The display of a tearful Otto Warmbier, a 21-year-old student at the University of Virginia, was viewed by some North Korea watchers as an effort to try to pressure Washington as it leads international efforts to impose sanctions on Pyongyang for its recent nuclear test and long-range rocket launch.

“The actual offense here doesn’t really matter. It’s a case of North Korea using another hostage to push back against American sanctions,” said Jang Jin-sung, a former North Korean government official who now lives in South Korea.

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Image: North Korea — Pyongyang by (stephan) on Flickr