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 TrumpPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report House unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist 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 SandersBiden pledges return to daily press briefings as president Sarah Sanders: I will walk out of the White House 'with my head held high' Trump directs Pentagon to develop policy allowing service academy athletes to go pro right away 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 TillersonPress: Acosta, latest to walk the plank A brief timeline of Trump's clashes with intelligence director Dan Coats What is Trump's Iran end game? 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 UnNew photo of Trump with Kim Jong Un hung in the White House North Korea warns US-South Korea drills threaten nuclear talks Member of Senate GOP leadership says Trump tweets are racist 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.