National security adviser John Bolton on Sunday denied reports that the U.S. paid North Korea for the release of Otto Warmbier, but confirmed that a U.S. envoy did sign a pledge agreeing to make a payment.
“Absolutely not. And I think that’s the key point. 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,” Bolton said during an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”
Bolton added, however, that Joseph Yun, a State Department envoy sent to retrieve Warmbier from North Korea in 2017, signed a pledge to pay the country for Warmbier’s release.
“That is what I am told, yes,” Bolton said.
The Washington Post reported last week that North Korea issued a $2 million bill to the U.S. for the hospital care of Warmbier and that Yun signed a pledge saying the U.S. would pay the bill. The Post reported that it was unclear whether the bill was ultimately paid.
On Friday, President Trump also denied that the U.S. paid any money to North Korea for Warmbier.
“No money was paid to North Korea for Otto Warmbier, not two Million Dollars, not anything else,” he tweeted.