North Korea billed US $2M for hospital care of Otto Warmbier: report

North Korea in 2017 reportedly issued a $2 million bill to the U.S. for the hospital care of American Otto Warmbier, who was in a coma when he was returned to the U.S. and died without regaining consciousness.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that North Korea insisted that a U.S. official sign a pledge to pay the bill before returning Warmbier, an Ohio native who was arrested while visited Pyongyang.

Citing two people familiar with the situation, the Post reported that the U.S. envoy who retrieved Warmbier signed the pledge on instructions from President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE.

The Post says it's unclear if the Trump administration ultimately paid the bill.

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The White House reportedly declined to comment.

“We do not comment on hostage negotiations, which is why they have been so successful during this administration,” press secretary Sarah HuckabeeSarah Elizabeth SandersBill Press: Mulvaney proves need for daily briefings White House correspondent April Ryan to moderate fundraising event for Buttigieg White House press secretary defends lack of daily briefings: Trump 'is the most accessible president in history' MORE Sanders told the newspaper in an email.

The Post reported Joseph Yun, the State Department envoy, was asked to sign the pledge when he went to North Korea to retrieve Warmbier.

Yun called then-Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonTillerson: Using American aid for 'some kind of personal gain [is] wrong' Nikki Haley fires the first shot in the GOP's post-Trump war State Dept. watchdog: Official's firing was case of political retaliation MORE, who called Trump, according to the newspaper. Tillerson and Trump instructed Yun to sign the pledge, the Post said, according to two sources.

Yun, who retired last year, and the State Department also declined comment to the Post.

Warmbier's father, Fred Warmbier, told the news outlet he wasn't previously aware of the medical bill but said it sounded like a "ransom."

North Korea in 2016 sentenced Otto Warmbier to 15 years of hard labor, and the former University of Virginia student fell into a coma shortly thereafter.

Trump faced criticism earlier this year when he said he didn't think North Korean leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnAs Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Harris accuses Trump of being 'punked' by North Korea Kamala Harris: 'Donald Trump got punked' by North Korea MORE was responsible for Warmbier's death. 

"Some really bad things happened to Otto. Some really bad things. [Kim] tells me that he didn't know about it, and I will take him at his word," Trump said.

Trump has twice met with Kim at summits. The most recent summit, held in February, ended without an agreement on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Updated at 12:30 p.m.