President Trump said Thursday that he does not believe Kim Jong Un knew about the torture of Otto Warmbier, an American student who died after being imprisoned in North Korea.
Trump said he would take Kim “at his word” after the North Korean leader personally told him that he did not know about how Warmbier was treated in a prison in the country.
“I don’t believe he would have allowed that to happen. It just wasn’t to his advantage to allow that to happen,” Trump said at a press conference in Hanoi, Vietnam.
“He tells me that he didn’t know about it. I will take him at his word,” he added.
Trump made the statement at press conference after a summit between the U.S. and North Korea ended without the two nations reaching a nuclear disarmament agreement.
Trump added that he and Kim spoke about Warmbier during their meetings, and Kim said “he felt badly” about his death.
Warmbier, 22, was arrested in North Korea in 2016 for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster while he was visiting the country with other Americans on a tour.
The Trump administration arranged his transfer out of the country, but Warmbier died about a week later after falling into a permanent vegetative state.
His parents sued Kim’s regime after his death, and a DC judge ruled that, “North Korea is liable for the torture, hostage-taking, and extrajudicial killing of Otto Warmbier, and the injuries to his mother and father, Fred and Cindy Warmbier.”
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