Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images
U.S. President Donald Trump walks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a break in talks at the U.S.-North Korea summit in Hanoi on February 28, 2019.
The parents of Otto Warmbier, who died of injuries sustained in detention in North Korea, issued a stinging rebuke to President Donald Trump Friday after Trump said he believed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s claim that he was unaware of what was being done to their son in a North Korean prison.
“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,” Fred and Cindy Warmbier said in a statement released to the media. “Kim and his evil regime are responsible for unimaginable cruelty and inhumanity. No excuses or lavish praise can change that.”
The statement came a day after Trump returned from a summit with Kim in Hanoi, Vietnam, which failed to produce any progress on denuclearization of North Korea.
Before departing Hanoi, Trump gave a press conference at which he was asked whether he raised the issue of Warmbier’s captivity and death with Kim. Trump said he had. “Some really bad things happened to Otto — some really, really bad things,” Trump continued. “But [Kim] tells me that he didn’t know about it, and I will take him at his word.”
Trump added that Kim “felt very badly about it,” and said the dictator “knew the case very well but he knew it later,” implying that Kim was unaware of the abuse Warmbier was suffering at the hands of his government.
Warmbier, 22, was arrested in Pyongyang in 2016 for removing a banner from a hotel, and sentence to 15 years hard labor. He was released 17 months later, in June 2017, but returned to the United States in a coma and died just days after he landed on U.S. soil.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.