HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — President Donald Trump says he doesn’t think North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was involved in the mistreatment of American college student Otto Warmbier, who died after being detained in the isolated country.
President Trump says of Kim: “He tells me that he didn’t know about it, and I will take him at his word.”
The President has taken credit for freeing American prisoners abroad and used Warmbier’s death as a rallying cry against the North’s human rights abuses before softening his rhetoric in advance of talks with Kim.
Warmbier, a 22-year-old University of Virginia student from Ohio, was visiting North Korea with a tour group when he was arrested and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in 2016 on suspicion of stealing a propaganda poster. He died in June 2017, shortly after he returned to the U.S. in a coma.