During his 2018 State of the Union address, President Donald Trump used the death of American college student Otto Warmbier as a call to confront the menace of North Korea.
"We need only look at the depraved character of the North Korean regime to understand the nature of the nuclear threat it could pose to America and our allies," Trump said in his prepared remarks.
But at a news conference following his recent summit with Kim Jong-Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, Trump said he believed that the North Korean leader knew nothing of Warbier's treatment.
According to CNN, the North Korean regime arrested Otto Warmbier for alleged spying. It is suspected that Warmbier was tortured during his imprisonment, and he died shortly after his return to the United States in 2017.
In contrast to Trump's claim that North Korea was a “menace that threatens our world,” the president now says that Kim Jong-Un “felt very badly” about the death of Warmbier. Further, he takes the leader’s word in claiming he was unaware of any mistreatment.
Following the press conference, Warmbier’s parents released a public statement citing that both Kim and his regime are responsible for “unimaginable cruelty and inhumanity” and the death of their son.
"We have been respectful during this summit process," they wrote. "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."