(CNSNews.com) - "Otto Warmbier is a very special person, and he will be for a long time in my life,” President Trump told a news conference in Singapore, following his historic summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
His parents are good friends of mine. I think without Otto, this would not have happened. Something happened from that day. It was a terrible thing. It was brutal. But a lot of people started to focus on what was going on, including North Korea.
I really think that Otto is someone who did not die in vain. I told this to his parents. A special young man, and I have to say, special parents, special people. Otto did not die in vain. He had a lot to do with us being here today, okay.
It was almost one year ago today that President Trump announced the death of Warmbier, the college student who was imprisoned in North Korea for 15 months before he was returned home in a coma from which he never recovered. He died a week later.
Otto was on a tour of North Korea with other college students when he was detained for removing a propaganda poster from his hotel.
Otto's father Fred Warmbier thanked President Trump for his efforts to bring Otto home:
"When Otto was first taken, we were advised by the past administration to take a low profile while they worked to obtain his release. We did so without resolve," Fred Warmbier said one year ago. "Earlier this year, Cindy and I decided the time for strategic patience was over, and we made a few media appearances and traveled to Washington to meet with Ambassador Joe Yun at the state department. It is my understanding that the Ambassador Yun and his team, at the direction of the president, aggressively pursued resolution of the situation. They have our thanks for bringing Otto home."
At Tuesday's news conference in Singapore, a reporter asked Trump what he would say to the 100,000 North Koreans kept imprisoned in gulags. “Have you betrayed them by legitimizing the regime in Pyongyang?” the reporter asked.
"No, I think I've helped them, because I think things will change," Trump responded. "I think I've helped them. There is nothing I can say. All I can do is do what I can do. We have to stop the nuclearization, we have to do other things, and that's a very important thing.
"So at a certain point, hopefully you'll be able to ask me a much more positive question or make a statement. But not much I can do right now," Trump said. "At a certain point I really believe he's going to do things about it.
"I think they are one of the great winners today -- that large group of people that you're talking about. I think ultimately they are going to be one of the great winners as a group."