North Korea demanded $2 million in exchange for the return of a comatose American prisoner, and even though the U.S. never actually paid for his release one of the leading experts on the North Korean threat says President Trump needs to get much tougher on the communist regime and the sooner the better.
On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that North Korea demanded $2 million for the return of Otto Warmbier, the American college student sentenced to hard labor for allegedly stealing a political poster. Warmbier was flown back to the U.S. in 2017. He was in a coma and died just hours later.
Multiple sources insist the U.S. never paid the ransom, but North Korea expert Gordon Chang says this story just confirms the barbaric nature of the Kim Jong-Un regime.
“I think the most important thing is that the North Korean regime is the most horrific on earth. In this case, they brutalized Otto Warmbier and then have the audacity to bill us $2 million for this. This money, of course, will never be paid,” said Chang, author of “Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes on the World.”
Chang says this latest revelation is further proof that dealing with Kim is fruitless.
“We will not have satisfactory relations with North Korea on anything – especially nuclear weapons – until there is a new government in North Korea which is democratic,” said Chang.
The news of the ransom demand for Warmbier comes the same week as Kim met face-to-face with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok. Chang says Kim’s agenda is to coax Russia into into greater investment in North Korea and into backing sanctions relief.
Chang is also frustrated with President Trump for easing sanctions enforcement on North Korea around the time of the first summit in 2018. He says Trump needs to clamp down harder on North Korea and needs to do it now.
“We’ve got to go back to really enforcing those sanctions to the point where North Korea doesn’t get any money. Because if North Korea doesn’t get any money, it’ll realize it has to give up its nukes and missiles,” said Chang.
Listen to the full podcast to hear Chang explain how North Korea is pitting Russia and China against one another, how weak sanctions enforcement is a major threat to the people of South Korea, and what two things North Korea must do before the U.S. should even consider another summit.