The White House said Tuesday it is a shame American Otto Warmbier was not freed sooner by the North Koreans because he might have survived whatever ailment he was suffering from.
Press secretary Sean Spicer was asked about Warmbier, who died Monday at age 22 just six days after he was returned to the United States in a coma.
"We are pleased obviously to get him back to the United States, but if we had been able to secure that earlier, there could have potentially been medical help rendered earlier," Spicer said. "I think the president worked really hard to do what he could to secure the release of him.
"It's a shame that it happened."
Spicer would not comment or speculate about how Warmbier died, nor would he admit the Obama administration failed to do enough to help secure Warmbier's release.
Warmbier's family said the Obama White House instructed them not to talk about Warmbier so as not to "upset the North Koreans."
Spicer did, however, say the administration has been working with China to help improve America's relationship with North Korea — a reclusive nation that is developing nuclear weapons. Three other Americans are still being held captive there.
"We have had positive movement on China over the past five months with this administration," Spicer said. "We will continue to work with them and others to put the appropriate pressure on North Korea and to change this behavior in this regime.
"We will continue to hopefully build on the relationship and the dialogue we have had with China."
About 15 minutes after the press briefing ended, Trump seemed to contradict what Spicer said regarding China:
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