Trump sends North Korea's Kim Jong Un birthday wishes

A photo taken on June 30, 2019, shows US President Donald Trump with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the border village of Panmunjom in the demilitarised zone. PHOTO: AP

SEOUL (REUTERS) - US President Donald Trump sent a happy birthday message to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, South Korea's national security adviser Chung Eui-Yong said on Friday (Jan 10).

Mr Chung, who met Mr Trump in Washington this week, told reporters that he was given a message to pass to North Korea and it was delivered on Thursday.

"The day we met was Kim Jong Un's birthday and President Trump remembered this and asked me to deliver the message,"Mr Chung said upon arrival back in South Korea.

Mr Kim's birthday is believed to be January 8, though his secretive regime has never confirmed the date.

The US government lists Mr Kim's birth year as 1984, making him 36 years old this year.

Mr Chung did not say if it was a written message or whether it included anything beyond birthday wishes.

On Wednesday, Mr Chung also met the US special envoy for North Korea, Mr Stephen Biegun, and "reaffirmed close US-ROK coordination on North Korea," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said, using the initials for South Korea's official name the Republic of Korea.

The two also discussed recent events in the Middle East and their coordination on global security issues.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha will meet US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in California next week, along with their Japanese counterpart, Mr Toshimitsu Motegi, and North Korea and South Korea-Japan relations will be on the top of the agenda.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Tuesday there is an urgent need for practical ways to improve ties with North Korea, adding that he was ready to meet its reclusive leader in North Korea.

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