New York has a strong but touching message to Kim Jong Un.
The street where the North Korean regime’s mission to the UN is located may soon be called “Way Oto Warmbier”, after the 22-year-old student from the American college, who was brutally tortured and sent home to die under the Kim regime in 2017. .
“We are a symbol of human rights for the whole world and we have faced dictators and tyrants in this city historically,” said New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This is a place that has really guided international efforts against oppression.”
The mayor told Fox News at a news conference in the town hall that he “absolutely” supports the crossing of Warmbier Street.
Warmbier plans to move to New York in the summer of 2016 and work on a paid internship at the financial firm Millstein & Co. He had to live in Manhattan after graduating from the University of Virginia. Instead, he was arrested on false charges as he was about to leave North Korea with his fellow students who were on a foreign study visit to the country. During his nearly 18-month prison sentence, Wormbier was tortured and eventually sent home to Cincinnati, suffering from severe brain damage and unable to see or hear. He died on June 19, 2017, just days after arriving home.
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Now, Warmbier’s name could be a constant reminder of the savagery of the Kim regime and a symbol of human rights if the New York City Council approves a proposal to name the North Korean mission’s street after him.
“There is no government more oppressive than the North Korean government,” de Blasio said. “And the fact that an American has lost his life is something we need to remember. And we need to honor his family and we need to speak out against the oppression that the North Korean people go through every day.”
The North Korean government maintains its diplomatic headquarters in the office building at 820 Second Avenue, in eastern Manhattan, one block from the United Nations. The section in front of the building, from 43rd to 44th Street, will be named after Warmbier and a street sign will be erected – a blunt and enduring reminder to North Korean diplomats and the UN international community of the inhumanity and assassination of the young American regime.
De Blasio is the newest civil servant to support the Otto Warmbier Way, which receives broad bilateral support.
The street’s honorary title was first proposed by New York City Councilor Joe Borelli, R-Staten Island, in 2019 and drew several strong names to its cause, including two former secretaries of state, former UN sub-ambassadors to the United States and a local congresswoman. .
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Otto’s parents, Cindy and Fred Wormbier, support the effort to name the street after their son.
President Biden’s special envoy for climate, John Kerry, who was secretary of state when Otto was caught, told Fox News: “I think it’s more than appropriate. It’s important. Otto’s family and friends in Ohio remember him every day. They but in New York, at the United Nations, North Korea must see the name every day of a young man who must still be alive today, the world must know that we remember and care – that is part of how you insist that no one will ever have the right to forget the tragedy of Otto Wormbier. You must always fight oblivion. “
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that the tragic death of Kim Jong Un’s “Warmbier” should remind us all how precious freedom and life are. “
“I must also remind everyone that it is too easy to turn away: there is evil in the world and the barbarians leading North Korea are part of it,” Pompeo said. “One of the most important moments when I was Secretary of State was the return of three Americans from the clutches of such a regime. But the joy I felt tonight was mitigated by the knowledge that we could not do the same for Otto and his family. Otto’s promising future has been crushed by North Korea’s inhumanity, which makes it our duty to remember him so truly for me. to suffer from brutal dictators without answering that we value life and that we will not rest until they are brought to justice for abominable acts like theirs. “
Representative Carolyn Maloney, DN.Y., who represents the area, said, “We must never forget the death of Otto Warmbier and the brutality of his capture by the North Korean government. I support … (the mission) to create the Otto Warmbier Road “and we remind the North Korean mission to the UN of the values and strong position of our circle against authoritarian dictatorships. Otto was a young man who was taken from this land too early and I hope we will continue to remember his name for many years to come. . “
City officials recently backed recent street names, ranging from the Black Lives movement, to a teenager killed in a racially motivated attack in 1989, to former Yemeni President Ibrahim al-Hamid, who was assassinated in 1977.
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Previous street renamings include the corner of 42nd Street and 12th Avenue, where the Chinese Consulate is located, Tiananmen Square Corner, in honor of the 1989 victims of the Tiananmen Square protest. The corner of 67th Street and Third Avenue, where Russia’s mission to the United Nations is located, is named the Sakharov-Bonner Corner, in honor of the late Soviet dissident activist Andrei Sakharov and his wife, human rights activist Elena Bonner.
Former New Mexico Governor and US Ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson is working for Otto’s release by meeting with Kim’s diplomats in Manhattan. Richardson, a Democrat, told Fox News: “It is appropriate that the legacy of Otto Warmbier be honored and that such a tragedy not be repeated, especially in North Korea. It is important that North Koreans remind Otto Warmbier of everyone when they see his name near their diplomatic mission. in New York. “
Former US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Kraft, a Republican, said: “For generations, New York has been a global symbol of human rights, freedom and tolerance. Otto Warmbier was about to become a New Yorker, but his future was severely curtailed by a brutal dictatorship. Otto’s name, which adorns the corner of 44th Street, will serve as a stark reminder to Kim Jong Un, the UN and the international community of the brutal results of the tyranny, while insisting on the human values that all New Yorkers and Americans across the country adhere to. “
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The bill, as with all honorary street renamings, must pass the 51-member New York City Council and then be signed by the de Blasio Act.
“We have a good history of opposing triangles and we must continue to do so,” de Blasio said. “Whether it faces the apartheid of the South African regime or so many others who oppress their people, in this city we stand for human rights and dignity. And I don’t think there is again – there is literally no worse regime on earth than North Korea, so I’m very comfortable, we also need to be against them. “
Fox News’s Ben Evansky contributed to this report.
Follow Eric Sean on Twitter: @EricShawnTV