Speed Reads

otto Warmbier

Mike Pence's Olympics guest is a pointed message to North Korea

Vice President Mike Pence is bringing the father of Otto Warmbier as his guest to the Olympics Opening Ceremony in PyeongChang, South Korea, The Washington Post reports. Otto Warmbier was 21 when he was imprisoned by North Korea in 2016 for allegedly attempting to steal a propaganda poster from his hotel room. He was medically evacuated to the United States in a coma last June, which was apparently caused by an unknown injury from a year prior. He died shortly after returning to the U.S.

Pence is leading the 2018 U.S. Winter Olympic delegation and will bring Otto's father Fred as his guest. Pence's presence in South Korea is intended to "reinforce the strong U.S. presence on the Korean Peninsula and send a clear signal to the North Korean regime," a White House official told CBS News. North Korea and South Korea have defused tensions ahead of the international sporting event, going as far as to agree to march under a unified flag.

In an emotional press conference last year, Fred Warmbier praised President Trump for bringing his son home. "The era of strategic patience for the Warmbier family is over," he additionally told The Washington Post in a criticism of the Obama administration's handling of the incident.