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Fmr U.S. Envoy to North Korea: My Impression Was Trump Greenlit Deal to Repay Warmbier’s Medical Bills

Joseph Yun, the former State Department Special Representative for North Korea, said on Monday that he agreed to pay North Korea $2 million for Otto Warmbier‘s hospital bills while under the impression President Donald Trump approved what he was doing.

Yun appeared on CNN Monday morning to address reports saying North Korean officials asked him to promise repayment before allowing him to leave the country with the comatose Warmbier in 2017. While Trump claims reports on the matter are “fake news,” Washington Post previously cited sources who say Yun was instructed to sign the agreement after contacting former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who reportedly contacted Trump in turn.

The former ambassador said he signed the “letter of assurance” to repay North Korea for $2 million in medical expenses. When CNN’s Jim Sciutto asked Yun if he was operating under instructions from others at the time, Yun recalled how Tillerson got back to him quickly and gave him the green light to sign the document.

“Was it your understanding that Secretary Tillerson had the president’s approval for that?” Sciutto asked

“That was my understanding,” Yun said. “I never asked him, but that was my understanding.”

The Trump Administration says they have not made any repayments to North Korea, but Yun went on to say that the U.S. should meet its terms of the commitment by paying up.

Watch above, via CNN.

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