Kim summit 'may not have happened without Otto Warmbier'

Russian President Vladimir Putin with Chinese leader Xi Jinping at a meeting in Tianjin on Friday

Russian President Vladimir Putin with Chinese leader Xi Jinping at a meeting in Tianjin on Friday Credit Alexei Druzhinin TASS

"Otto Warmbier is a very special person, his parents are good friends of mine", Trump told reporters from Singapore after he and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signed an agreement committing to "complete denuclearization".

He lionised Trump for achieving "a feat that no one else has ever delivered", adding Kim would also be remembered as "a leader who made a historic moment by taking the first bold step toward the world".

"I really think that Otto is someone who did not die in vain".

In a post-summit interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Trump said North Korea was "going to get rid of certain ballistic missile sites and various other things" but that they would "put that out later".

Well it's in many ways a great victory for Kim Jong-un. In fact, I would say it's somewhat disgusting.

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Trump told ABC's George Stephanopoulous that he can only assess Kim based on their meeting.

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He served 527 days of a 15-year sentence of hard labor, during which U.S. officials staged a surprise trip to Pyongyang last September and demanded that Pyongyang send him home on "humanitarian grounds".

In April, the parents of Otto Warmbier sued the Pyongyang regime for the alleged torture and murder of their son.

The U.S. president said he raised the issue of human rights with Kim, and he believed the North Korean leader wanted to 'do the right thing.' He said the negotiations he has initiated should help improve conditions in the isolated country.

Warmbier was detained on January 2, 2016, as his tour group was departing, and accused of hostile acts against the country as an agent of the United States government - specifically, stealing a political poster from his hotel as a "trophy".

Warmbier was evacuated in a coma on June 13, 2017, and returned home to his family in Cincinnati.

Warmbier, a 22-year-old University of Virginia student from OH, was imprisoned in North Korea in March 2016 after he was arrested for taking a poster from a hotel he was staying in while on a tourist visit to Pyongyang and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.

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