As North Korea begins to emerge onto the international scene for the first time in 60 years, their past transgressions mustn’t be shied away from in favor of a short-lived streak of civility.
The DPRK, ruled by by dainty dictator Kim Jong Un, has been a menace to the the world at large during the decades following the Korean war. Their brand of authoritarianism in highly disconcerting for starters, employing the use of concentration camps to punish dissidents.
Otto Warmbier, an American visiting North Korea, learned this first hand after being sentenced to 15 years in such conditions after removing a propaganda poster from the wall of his hotel.
Just days into his sentence, Warmbier was in a coma, having suffered horrifically at the hands of his captors.
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North Korea eventually relented, allowing Warmbier to be sent back to the United States for medical care. Upon his arrival, home, Warmbier survived only a few days, with his parents eventual remarking that their son was in agony, and not in the serene state that is often conjured when speaking of such conditions.
To add insult to injury, new reports now show that North Korea actually sent the United States a bill for Warmbier’s medical care.
The U.S. received a $2 million hospital bill in 2017 from the North Korean government for the care of American Otto Warmbier, who fell into a coma for unknown reasons while he was imprisoned in the country, according to a report.
Pyongyang authorities insisted the U.S. envoy sent to retrieve the University of Virginia student sign a pledge to pay the bill before allowing Warmbier’s comatose body to return to the United States, the Washington Post reported Thursday.
Citing two people familiar with the situation, the Post reported the envoy signed an agreement to pay the medical bill on instructions from President Trump. However, it is unclear if the Trump administration ultimately paid the bill, which was sent to the Treasury Department. Sources told Bloomberg that the U.S. did not pay North Korea the money they demanded in the bill.
This ridiculous and egregious request should help to solidify the reputation of North Korea in the minds of Americans…a distinction that could be wildly important as Kim Jong Un continues to cozy up to fellow authoritarian leader Vladimir Putin.
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