Portman, Wenstrup tout resolution honoring U.S. student, condemning North Korea

The U.S. Senate on June 18 unanimously passed a bipartisan resolution introduced by U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) to honor the life of Cincinnati, Ohio-native Otto Warmbier, while U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) introduced his chamber’s version of the resolution.

Sen. Portman on June 16 introduced Senate Resolution 623, with lead cosponsor U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), to commemorate Warmbier and condemn the North Korean regime for its continued human rights abuses. Warmbier was an American college student who was imprisoned in North Korea in 2016 on a charge of subversion. In June 2017, he was released by North Korea in a vegetative state and died soon afterward.

“We must continue to hold North Korea accountable for their actions and human rights abuses against Otto Warmbier and everyone they’ve illegally held captive,” Sen. Portman said last week. “It’s important that we continue to work together to confront the threat that North Korea poses.”

Rep. Wenstrup on June 18 introduced his chamber’s companion resolution with U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) to honor and celebrate Warmbier’s life and condemn North Korea’s continued human rights violations. The resolution also would call for sanctions enacted by the Otto Warmbier North Korea Nuclear Sanctions and Enforcement Act of 2019 to remain in effect until North Korea suspends its nuclear weapons program.

Sens. Portman and Brown championed that bill, which was included in the final fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and signed into law in 2019.

“It has been three years since our community lost a cherished son, brother, and friend, and my heart remains broken for Fred and Cindy Warmbier and their family,” Rep. Wenstrup said. “We must continue to honor Otto’s legacy by championing human rights and holding North Korea’s brutal dictatorial regime accountable for its actions. Otto is not forgotten, and we will not stop fighting for justice on his behalf.”