President Donald Trump offered condolences Monday to the family Otto Warmbier, the U.S. student released from a North Korean prison last week after spending around 17 months in captivity for stealing a propaganda banner. 

Trump blamed North Korea’s “brutal regime” for the student’s death and said the incident increases the “administration’s determination to prevent such tragedies from befalling innocent people at the hands of regimes that do not respect the rule of law or basic human decency.”

“Melania and I offer our deepest condolences to the family of Otto Warmbier on his untimely passing. There is nothing more tragic for a parent than to lose a child in the prime of life,” the president said in a statement issued shortly after Warmbier’s death. 

"The United States once again condemns the brutality of the North Korean regime as we mourn its latest victim," the statement read. 

ReadHow Many People Are Imprisoned In North Korea After Release Of Otto Warmbier?

During a tech industry roundtable at the White House on Monday, Trump said “a lot of bad things happened” to Warmbier while he was serving his time in North Korea, Bloomberg reported

“But at least we got him home to be with his parents where they were so happy to see him, even though he was in very tough condition. But he just passed away a little while ago. It is a brutal regime and we’ll be able to handle it,” Trump was quoted as saying in multiple reports

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement he received the news of the American student’s death with “deep sadness.”

The 22-year-old student’s death may escalate tensions between the two countries as the U.S. has been trying to block North Korea’s push to secure a nuclear-armed missile, capable of reaching North America. Trump has been focusing on pressurizing China, North Korea’s major ally and benefactor; however, the president has also warned that “all options” can be considered. The Trump administration is also working  with South Korea, its ally, to counter the North Korean threat. Warmbier’s death and the outrage regarding the incident in the U.S. might be capable of changing Trump’s calculus in dealing with North Korea.

“This makes it extremely difficult for the U.S. to move forward to make any overture toward North Korea absent the release of the three other prisoners,” said Ralph Cossa, president of the Pacific Forum Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Honolulu. “The public opinion will be played upon by those in power, and will prevent any kind of flexible response.”

ReadOtto Frederick Warmbier, American Detained In North Korea, Gets Help From Trump Administration

Warmbier returned to the U.S. on June 13 after being released by North Korea. He had been in a coma since March 2016, according to mutiple reports. Otto’s doctors at University of Cincinnati Medical Center described his condition as a state of “unresponsive wakefulness” and stated he suffered a “severe neurological injury” of unknown cause while in North Korean custody, a report published Monday by the New York Times said. 

The economics student from the University of Virginia was visiting North Korea as a part of a student tour in December 2015. He was arrested in January 2016 at the Pyongyang International Airport. He was detained for allegedly stealing a North Korean political propaganda poster. He confessed to stealing the poster during his trial in March 2016 and was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor, BBC reported. His release after 17 months was celebrated by the Trump administration as an evidence of successful diplomacy between the two countries.