Kim Jong Un sends conciliatory note to Trump: Report

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reportedly sent a message to US President Donald Trump last Friday. Mr Kim also sent a letter to his counterpart in Seoul saying that he wants to hold more inter-Korean summits this year to achieve denuclearisation.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (left) reportedly sent a message to US President Donald Trump last Friday. Mr Kim also sent a letter to his counterpart in Seoul saying that he wants to hold more inter-Korean summits this year to achieve denuclearisation.

Letter-like message related to US-N. Korea talks was delivered through unspecified channel

SEOUL • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has sent a "conciliatory message" to US President Donald Trump amid stalled nuclear negotiations, South Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported yesterday.

Mr Kim's "letter-like" message to Mr Trump was delivered last Friday through an unspecified channel, the newspaper reported, citing an unnamed diplomatic source.

The report did not include details about the message, but said it was related to US-North Korea talks and was conciliatory in tone.

On Sunday, the office of South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Mr Kim had sent a letter to his counterpart in Seoul saying that he wants to hold more inter-Korean summits this year to achieve denuclearisation of the peninsula.

Neither the US State Department nor the US Embassy in Seoul had an immediate comment about the report of Mr Kim's message to Mr Trump when contacted by Reuters.

Mr Moon's office could not confirm the Chosun Ilbo report.

"There is a dialogue channel between North Korea and the United States through which they exchange active communication, but I cannot know whether it took the form of a letter or something else," Mr Moon's spokesman told a news conference yesterday.

At a summit with Mr Trump in Singapore in June last year, Mr Kim had vowed to work towards denuclearisation.

 
 
 

However, both sides have struggled to make progress on this matter. They are also yet to reschedule a meeting between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol after an abrupt cancellation in November.

Pyongyang's state media has credited Mr Trump for his willingness to continue dialogue, but has also slammed the US State Department for tightening sanctions.

The stalled negotiations have had an impact on inter-Korean ties, with Mr Kim failing to visit Seoul last year as agreed to at an inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang in September.

The Chosun Ilbo report said Mr Kim wrote in the letter to Mr Moon that he would come to the South "in the near future" after giving a New Year's address today.

Mr Kim's New Year address provides a rare public appearance for the young leader and is closely watched by neighbouring countries as it is seen as setting the tone for his domestic and foreign policies.

According to Mr Moon's spokesman, Mr Kim said in the letter to the South Korean President that he was sorry his previously planned trip to Seoul did not take place, expressing his "strong resolve" to make it happen while monitoring the situation.

REUTERS

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 01, 2019, with the headline 'Kim Jong Un sends conciliatory note to Trump: Report'. Print Edition | Subscribe