President Trump said Tuesday after his historic summit with North Korea dictator Kim Jong Un that the meeting between the two leaders may not have happened if not for the death of Otto Warmbier.
Warmbier, 22, was a student at the University of Virginia when he was arrested in North Korea in January 2016 for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison and fell into a coma while incarcerated. He was brought back to the U.S. in June 2017 only to die a few days later.
“Otto did not die in vain,” Trump said as he discussed North Korea’s human rights record.
Trump’s comments on Warmbier came after Vice President Mike Pence reassured the Ohio man’s father when he spoke to him ahead of the Singapore summit.
“Today I assured his dad, as the president said two days ago, their beloved son, Otto Warmbier, will not have died in vain,” Pence said.
The vice president commended Trump on his success thus far with North Korea, speaking of that country’s participation in the Winter Olympics, the suspension of all ballistic missile testing and, recently, the release of three American hostages.
Warmbier's parents, Fred and Cindy, said on Trump's comments, "We appreciate President Trump's recent comments about our family. We are proud of Otto and miss him. Hopefully something positive can come from this.”
Trump said during the news conference that the remains of Americans who died during the Korean War will also be brought home. He said it was a last minute deal and expected more than 6,000 Americans’ remains to be brought back to the U.S.
Fox News’ Paulina Dedaj and Serafin Gomez and the Associated Press contributed to this report.