Nations and international rights groups should pressure North Korea to accept an investigation into its treatment of Otto Warmbier as a possible violation of the Geneva Convention, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said.
Richardson, who served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President Bill Clinton, now is a negotiator for detainees in countries hostile to the United States and had sought to secure Otto Warmbier’s release from North Korea.
The U.S. also should press for additional international sanctions on North Korea, Richardson said. The United Nations Security Council this month expanded sanctions on North Korea after its recent nuclear missile tests, but China has opposed more stringent efforts, such as an oil embargo.
Perhaps holding up China’s ally as a human-rights abuser, a place where a young man’s life was destroyed, might change the country’s mind, Richardson said. The ultimate hope: that pressure on North Korea could result in the release of the other three Americans held.
“This is a real opportunity to say to the Chinese, ‘Look at these human rights violations. Look what they did to this young man,’ ” Richardson said. “This is one of the worst violations, the most egregious treatment of human rights that I’ve seen.”