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Will Trump Bring Up Otto Warmbier Death At North Korea Summit?

Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday that he had spoken with Otto Warmbier’s father earlier in the day and that President Trump was going to the peace summit in Singapore with “with the family of Otto Warmbier on his heart,” CNN reported.

Warmbier, a 22-year-old American student, was detained in North Korea for 17 months and was returned to his family “with severe brain damage and in a nonresponsive state” last June. He died later that month.

President Trump closed his news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday by paying tribute to Warmbier’s family, saying that the student “has not died in vain.” Trump said he wanted to pay his respects to the family before his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, according to the Akron Beacon Journal.

Neither Trump nor Pence specifically said the president would bring up the topic of Warmbier’s death at the summit, a move that could anger the prickly and reclusive dictator.

NBC News reported that Trump does not plan to mention North Korea’s abysmal human rights record at all.

Trump invited Warmbier’s parents to his State of the Union address, where they received an extended standing ovation from lawmakers of both parties.

Warmbier’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in April against North Korea, saying its government tortured and killed their son.

Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at, or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher




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