Trump approved payment of $2 million bill for North Korea care of Warmbier: report
WASHINGTON, April 25 (Reuters) - President Donald Trump approved the payment of a $2 million bill presented by North Korea to cover its care of comatose American Otto Warmbier, a college student who died shortly after being returned home from 17 months in a North Korean prison, the Washington Post reported on Thursday.
The Post said an invoice was handed to State Department envoy Joseph Yun hours before Warmbier, 22, was flown out of Pyongyang in a coma on June 13, 2017. Warmbier died six days later.
Yun, when asked for comment, said in an email "I cannot comment/confirm on diplomatic exchanges."
The U.S. envoy, who was sent to retrieve Warmbier, signed an agreement to pay the medical bill on instructions passed down from Trump, the Post reported, citing two unidentified people familiar with the situation.
“We do not comment on hostage negotiations, which is why they have been so successful during this administration," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told Reuters.
The bill was sent to the Treasury Department and remained unpaid through 2017, the Post reported. It was not known if the administration later paid the bill.
Warmbier, a University of Virginia student visiting North Korea as a tourist, was imprisoned there for 17 months starting in January 2016. North Korea state media said he was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for trying to steal an item bearing a propaganda slogan from his hotel. (Reporting by Jeff Mason, Doina Chiacu and David Brunnstrom; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and James Dalgleish)