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 TrumpA better VA, with mental health services, is essential for America's veterans Pelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote Trump arrives in Japan to kick off 4-day state visit 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 SandersLive coverage: House panel moves forward with Barr contempt vote Mueller's facts vs Trump's spin Trump says he was called 'the greatest hostage negotiator this country has ever had' 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 TillersonEx-Trump campaign adviser on Tillerson remarks: Trump will 'pick a fight with anybody' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi fires back in feud with Trump Trump fires back at 'dumb as a rock' Tillerson on Putin 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 UnNorth Korea: Nuclear talks with US won't resume without new approach Seizing North Korean ships threatens to sink diplomacy Biden responds to North Korea insults: No surprise they want Trump in White House 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.