US special representative agreed to pay North Korea $2 million for detained American on Trump’s direct orders
CNN national security reporter Kylie Atwood said Thursday that then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and President Donald Trump leaned on then-Special Representative Joseph Yun to “do whatever you need to do” to bring home Otto Warmbier, the American college student sentenced to hard labor in North Korea — so he agreed the US would pay North Korea’s “bill” of $2 million for Warmbier’s care. Warmbier arrived back in the US comatose, and died a few days later, never regaining consciousness.
“We’re learning about how the North Koreans approached these negotiations,” said Atwood, who said the revelation was “stunning.”
“They shocked the Americans by handing US Special Representative Joe Yun, who was on that trip to get Otto back to the US, a bill of $2 million,” she said. “That is a hefty, hefty bill for getting an American who had been wrongly detained in North Korea, a 22-year-old, he’d been there over a year, back to the United States.”
“What I’m learning from my sources is that Ambassador Yun then called Washington. He called then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and said ‘what do I do here?'”, Atwood said. ” Tillerson then had a conversation with the president, and President Trump essentially said ‘do whatever you need do to get Otto Warmbier back to the United States.”
“That’s when ambassador Joe Yun signed an agreement that the US would pay this $2 million,” Atwood continued.
“However, I am told that the US has not yet paid that, and that as the US and North Korean negotiations have continued, the bill has not been brought up by the North Koreans in the Singapore summit or in the recent Hanoi summit.”
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