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27 July


North Korea issued a US$2 million bill for the hospital care of Otto Warmbier

The US President has already signed this document

Photo: Reuters

/NOVOSTIVL/ North Korea issued a US$2 million bill for the hospital care of comatose American Otto Warmbier, insisting that a US official sign a pledge to pay it before being allowed to fly the University of Virginia student from Pyongyang in 2017. This article appeared in The Washington Post.

The presentation of the invoice – not previously disclosed by US or North Korean officials – was extraordinarily brazen even for a regime known for its aggressive tactics.

The bill went to the Treasury Department, where it remained – unpaid – throughout 2017, the people said. However, it is unclear whether the Trump administration later paid the bill, or whether it came up during preparations for Trump’s two summits with Kim Jong-un.

The White House declined to comment. “We do not comment on hostage negotiations, which is why they have been so successful during this administration,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders wrote in an email.

The North Korean officials handed him a bill for US$2 million, insisting he sign an agreement to pay it before they would allow him to take Warmbier home, according to the two people familiar with the situation.

Yun called the 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 he would pay the US$2 million, the two people said.

Flueckiger discussed the medical aspects of Warmbier’s evacuation, but said he was not authorised to discuss the diplomatic negotiations.