Otto Warmbier was a U.S. citizen who was detained and sentenced to hard labor in North Korea in 2016. He was arrested after allegedly stealing a North Korea propaganda poster at his hotel while touring the country.
After serving 17 months of his 15-year- prison sentence, he returned to the U.S. in a vegetative state on June 12, 2017 and died one week later, at 22-year-old.
During a news conference after the President's meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jon Un, President Trump said the historic summit wouldn't have happened without Otto Warmbier.
"Otto Warmbier is a very special person and he will be for a long time in my life. His parents are good friends of mine. I think without Otto, this would not have happened. Something happened from that day, it was a terrible thing, it was brutal. But a lot of people started to focus on what was going on, including North Korea. I really think that Otto is someone who did not die in vain. I told this to his parents. A special young man and I have to say special parents, special people. Otto did not die in vain. He had a lot to do with us being here today," said President Trump speaking to the media Tuesday morning.
While it's unclear what happened during Warmbier's year in North Korean custody, doctors who examined him said he suffered from a severe neurological injury that most likely happened between March and April 2016.
President Trump also paid tribute to Warmbier and his family at his 2018 State of the Union address.
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