White House national security advisor John Bolton said Sunday that the U.S. did indeed promise to pay North Korea’s government $2 million for the care of Otto Warmbier, the man who was arrested by the North Korean government for stealing a poster and eventually died upon his release due to mysterious health problems. But the payment was apparently never made, according to Reuters.
In an interview with “Fox News Sunday,” Bolton was asked whether U.S. envoy Joseph Yun signed a document agreeing to the payment when he went to North Korea to retrieve Warmbier.
“That is what I am told, yes,” Bolton said.
Bolton said he wasn’t part of the Trump administration at the time the document agreeing to pay North Korea was signed. He then clarified that the promised payment was never made.
“It is very clear to me from my looking into it in the past few days that nobody was paid. That is clear,” he said.
“I think that’s the key point,” Bolton continued. “The president’s been very successful in getting 20-plus hostages released from imprisonment around the world and hasn’t paid anything for any of them.”
Last week, the Washington Post reported that the North Korean government had given the U.S. a $2 million bill for Warmbier’s healthcare. Trump subsequently denied that money had be paid for Warmbier’s release. And yet, according to Bolton, Trump’s envoy agreed to the payment.
Bolton added that Trump is open to a third summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after they walked away from negotiations when their last summit in Vietnam suddenly fell apart.
“He still looks for the possibility of a third summit with Kim. He feels pretty strongly about it,” Bolton said.
He said Trump was not interested in returning to the six-party talks of the past that included Russia, China, Japan, and South Korea.
“The six-party approach failed in the past. That doesn’t mean we don’t consult [with other countries],” Bolton told Fox. “Kim Jong Un has wanted the one on one contact with the United States, which is what he has gotten.”