Trump posts 'nice note' from Kim, hails progress made

US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the historic US-North Korea summit in Singapore on June 12. According to a letter released on Thursday, Mr Kim expressed hope for "practical actions" in the future, but made no mention
US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the historic US-North Korea summit in Singapore on June 12. According to a letter released on Thursday, Mr Kim expressed hope for "practical actions" in the future, but made no mention of any work by North Korea towards denuclearisation.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

N. Korean leader believes joint efforts could open up new future, lead to practical actions

WASHINGTON • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un told US President Donald Trump he believed their efforts could open up a "new future" between his country and the United States.

He also expressed hope for "practical actions" in the future, according to a letter from Mr Kim released on Thursday.

But Mr Kim, in the note posted by Mr Trump on Twitter, made no mention of any work by North Korea towards denuclearisation at a time when there has been no sign of concrete action by Pyongyang since the two leaders held a landmark summit in Singapore on June 12.

Still, Mr Trump hailed the July 6 letter as a "very nice note", saying that "great progress (was) being made". Hours after Mr Trump's tweet, State Department spokesman Heather Nauert said North Korea offered to meet a US delegation tomorrow to discuss the repatriation of remains of US soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War, a pledge Mr Trump had said he secured from Mr Kim during last month's summit.

This came after the North Koreans failed to show up for a meeting on the issue scheduled for Thursday at the inter-Korean border village of Panmunjom, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.

Mr Kim, in his note, praised Mr Trump for "energetic and extraordinary efforts made by Your Excellency Mr President for the improvement of relations between the two countries and the faithful implementation of the joint statement".

Mr Kim was referring to the statement signed by him and Mr Trump at the first-ever US-North Korean summit, in which Mr Kim agreed in broad terms to "work towards denuclearisation" of the Korean peninsula.

Mr Trump later said North Korea was no longer a nuclear threat, even though no details were announced, and critics suggested that the US President had failed to secure any new commitments from Pyongyang towards the dismantling of its nuclear missile programme.

The date of the letter suggests that it may have been sent around the time of Secretary of State Michael Pompeo's visit to Pyongyang last week, in which both sides struggled to make headway on the denuclearisation issue.

North Korea later accused the US of making "gangster-like" demands in the talks in North Korea, contradicting Mr Pompeo, who said the two sides had made progress.

Mr Kim's note, which Mr Trump included in his Twitter post with an image of the letter in Korean and an English-language translation of it, struck a positive tone.

Mr Kim said he hoped the process between the two sides would lead to "practical actions" in the future, though he offered no specifics, and that there would be a second meeting between the two leaders.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 14, 2018, with the headline 'Trump posts 'nice note' from Kim, hails progress made'. Print Edition | Subscribe