US President Donald Trump on Friday denied a Washington Post report that North Korea issued a $2 million bill to the US for the hospital care of detained American student Otto Warmbier, above (Photo credit: KCNA), in 2017.
Warmbier, who was in a coma, died without regaining consciousness shortly after he was returned to the US.
While no money was paid by the present administration to North Korea, the previous one under Barak Obama paid $1.8 billion for hostages and released terrorists in a prisoner exchange, Trump said.
The Post report said US envoy Joseph Yun, who brought Warmbier back, agreed to pay the bill at Trump’s direction.
However, the paper said it was not clear whether the Trump administration paid the bill.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders informed the Post that it does not comment on hostage negotiations.
Trump does not believe North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had any role in what happened to Warmbier. His critics had attacked him for holding this view.
But according to Trump, Kim personally told him at Singapore’s historic summit that he did not know about Warmbier’s case and he believed him.
Warmbier was arrested in 2016 for attempting to steal a propaganda poster from his hotel in North Korea and sentenced to 15 years in jail. He fell into a coma soon afterward.