US President Donald Trump has defended North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the case of an American college student who died after being jailed by North Korea.
Speaking before the press in Hanoi, Trump said he did not believe the North Korean leader was aware of Otto Warmbier’s ordeal.
“He tells me he didn’t know about it, and I will take him at his word.”
It can be remembered that Warmbier was jailed in North Korea in December 2015 during an organized tour.
Pyongyang authorities returned the 22-year-old to the US in a coma in July 2017, and he died days later in his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio.
At that time, his case raised tensions when the Trump administration was exchanging vitriolic comments with North Korea.
Trump told reporters he had mentioned the Warmbier case to Kim and the North Korean leader said he was not aware of it at the time, and was regretful.
The US president said: “I did speak about it, and I don’t believe that he would have allowed that to happen.
“It just wasn’t to his advantage to allow that to happen. Prisons are rough, they’re rough places, and bad things happened.”
He said Kim “felt very badly about it”, adding: “He knew the case very well, but he knew it later. In those prisons, those camps, you have a lot of people.”
Last June, at Trump’s first summit with North Korea’s leader, he credited Warmbier’s death with the change in US-North Korea relations.
Warmbier’s parents were guests of honour at President Trump’s State of the Union address in 2018.
The family stand and said their son was “murdered” by the North Korean authorities.