North Korea hands over $2 million medical bill for Otto Warmbier

North Korea hands over $2 million medical bill for Otto Warmbier

However, on the night of his sentencing, Warmbier slipped into a coma, mysteriously.

According to Washington Post and CNN reports from Thursday, the North Korean government demanded $2 million in payment for alleged medical expenses before it would agree to release Warmbier.

ANNA FIFIELD: Right. When the emergency doctor walked into that hospital room in Pyongyang, he found Otto Warmbier lying on a hospital bed there in a vegetative state.

The family had hidden Warmbier's Jewishness during negotiations for his return.

Afterward, they went to a meeting room where the talks to free Warmbier began. "These are diplomatic exchanges and negotiations that I do not confirm". China is helping us because I think they want to.

But the American said he did not have to lie in his report.

The unnamed source said Mr Tillerson's awareness of Warmbier's critical condition, or his lack of political experience may have contributed to the decision.

FIFIELD: The Warmbier family did not know about this hospital bill until I called Fred Warmbier, Otto's father, and asked him about it.

Yun, however, was faced with a more hard predicament.

Yun called the then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and told him about the bill.

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But the Trump administration has refuted this report.

The Treasury Department did not respond to a request for comment.

Obama had also defended the deal that led to Bergdahl's release and later changed the way the US government handles cases in which Americans are detained by militant groups following a six-month review. Trump's tweets this morning appear meant to put the story to rest, at least as to whether the United States paid any money to North Korea.

"They murdered him and the US isn't going to pay a ransom for that".

Having signed the documentation and secured Warmbier's release, Yun and Flueckiger flew to Cincinnati to return the young man to his parents. He was in a coma upon arrival and died just days later.

Warmbier's parents filed a lawsuit against North Korea over the student's death previous year on grounds that their son was "brutally tortured and murdered". An Ohio coroner said Warmbier died from a lack of oxygen and blood to his brain.

This story has been corrected to note that Warmbier died in 2017, not previous year.

Warmbier was returned to the U.S.in a near-comatose state after being held in North Korean captivity for roughly a year-and-a-half.

Trump has made rapprochement with North Korea one of his signature policies and he has held two summits with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

In February, Trump sided with Kim after he denied knowledge of their son's maltreatment during his imprisonment during their second summit in Vietnam. Trump said Kim denied knowing about it and that he takes the dictator "at his word". On June 19, Trump invited Lewandowski, then a lobbyist, to the Oval Office and told him to dictate a message for Sessions, who was to say publicly that Trump "hasn't done anything wrong" and he was limiting Mueller to "investigating election meddling for future elections".

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