Bolton: U.S. Promised Money For Warmbier Release But Never Paid Bill

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April 28, 2019 11:52 a.m.

After reports that North Korea billed the United States $2 million for the medical care of American Otto Warmbier, who died shortly after his release from North Korean captivity, National Security Adviser John Bolton confirmed Sunday that the bill existed and was agreed to, but insisted the United States never paid it.

“It appears that they did” demand money for Warmbier’s release, Bolton told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace in an interview, referring to the North Koreans. Bolton said the diplomat representing the United States, Joseph Yun, did sign a document pledging to provide that money. Yun retired from the State Department a few months after Warmbier’s release.

But, Bolton said, the United States did “not” pay “anything,” ultimately, for Warmbier’s release. Bolton said he didn’t know whether Yun pledged to pay the money with the knowledge that it would never actually be paid in the end.

Per the Washington Post’s report on the Trump administration’s handling of the bill:

Yun called then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and told him about the bill. Tillerson called Trump. They instructed their envoy to sign the piece of paper agreeing that the $2 million would be paid, the two people said.

Bolton’s comments align with Trump’s own response to the Post’s reporting, that “no money was paid to North Korea for Otto Warmbier, not two Million Dollars, not anything else.”

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