AP NEWS

John Bolton: $2 million was promised but not paid to North Korea for Otto Warmbier

April 29, 2019 GMT

National Security Adviser John R. Bolton said Sunday the United States pledged to pay $2 million for American student Otto Warmbier’s “medical bill” but had no intention on following through with the promise upon his return.

In an interview with Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday,” Mr. Bolton said not only did North Korea demand the hefty sum, but he was told then U.S. envoy Joseph Yun signed a document “pledging the money in order to get him out.”

When Mr. Wallace asked Mr. Bolton whether the money had been paid, he responded: “Absolutely not.”

“I think that’s the key point. The president has been very successful in getting for 20-plus hostages released from imprisonment around the world and hasn’t paid anything for any of them,” Mr. Bolton said, adding he wasn’t involved at the time but said he’s looked into the matter and confirmed, “no money was paid.”

Mr. Yun, now a CNN contributor, confirmed Monday that he signed “a letter of assurance” the U.S. would pay Warmbier’s medical care.

He said former Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson agreed to the payment pledge and said his understanding was “the president was aware of it as well.”

Mr. Yun said that until he left, “the U.S. had not paid the money,” but added he was unaware if it has been paid since.

Mr. Trump said Friday no money was paid to North Korea following a report the U.S. footed the bill for Warmbier’s medical care, adding he hasn’t “paid money for any hostage.”

Warmbier was held in North Korea’s prison system for 17 months before being sent to the U.S. in June of 2017 in a comatose state, dying six days later.

North Korea officials have denied any accusations that Warmbier died as a result of the torture he received. They said he had an allergic reaction to a sedative.