Donald Trump became the first United States president to step foot into North Korea — a historic moment that has been both praised and criticized. As The Inquisitr reported, one criticism stems from Kim Jong Un and his country’s treatment of Otto Warmbier, who was captured while visiting the country and eventually sent back to the U.S. with “with severe brain damage and in a non-responsive state.” He died six days later.
CNN reports that the North Korean government sent the U.S. a $2 million bill for the hospital care of Warmbier and pressured President Trump to sign a pledge to pay the bill before Warmbier’s release. According to Trump and additional sources, the White House did not pay the bill. One source also claims that North Korea did not broach the subject with U.S. officials at any time afterward.
“We made clear that they were never going to get anything,” a source said of the U.S.’s negotiations for the release of three Americans.
As for what caused Warmbier’s coma and brain damage, GQ reports that the real story is still uncertain.
North Korea claims Warmbier’s condition was the result of botulism and an adverse reaction to a sleeping pill. According to American doctors, this story is highly unlikely.
The U.S. says that Warmbier was “repeatedly beaten,” and his parents claim that he showed signs of physical torture. Yet the coroner that examined his body, Lakshmi Kode Sammarco, did not find any evidence of bludgeoning, no significant scars, and no evidence of prior trauma.
“His body was in excellent condition. I’m sure he had to have round-the-clock care to be able to maintain the skin in the condition it was in.”
GQ’s Doug Bock Clark claims that it’s possible Warmbier committed suicide, considering the mental torture he likely endured, the fact that other American prisoners have attempted the same while in North Korean custody, and the nature of his brain damage, which was symmetrical and occuring on both sides, as if it was starved for oxygen.
Otto Warmbier trends on twitter as users call out Trump for friendly meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong-Unhttps://t.co/e1HsYAAAQ2
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) June 30, 2019
Regardless of what really happened to Warmbier, the situation continues to stir tension.
Back in February, Trump sided with Kim’s claim that he didn’t know about Otto’s treatment and that he “felt really badly,” which promoted Otto’s family to speak out.
“We have been respectful during this summit process. Now we must speak out. Kim and his evil regime are responsible for the death of our son Otto. Kim and his evil regime are responsible for unimaginable cruelty and inhumanity. No excuses or lavish praise can change that. Thank you.”
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. For readers outside the U.S., visit Suicide.org or Befrienders Worldwide for international resources you can use to find help.