Trump says Kim wants to meet again, apologised for missile tests

People watching a news report showing file footage of US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at a train station in Seoul on Aug 10, 2019.
People watching a news report showing file footage of US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at a train station in Seoul on Aug 10, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NEW JERSEY (AP) - President Donald Trump said on Saturday (Aug 10) that North Korea's Kim Jong Un wants to meet once again to "start negotiations" after joint US-South Korea military exercises end.

He also said Mr Kim apologised for the flurry of recent short-range missile tests that has rattled US allies in the region.

Mr Trump is tweeting more details from the "beautiful" three-page letter he told reporters on Friday that he'd received from Mr Kim.

Mr Trump, who is on vacation at his golf club in New Jersey, said Mr Kim spent much of his letter complaining about "the ridiculous and expensive exercises", which North Korea sees as a threat.

He said Mr Kim offered him "a small apology" for the recent tests and assured him "that this testing would stop when the exercises end".

North Korea on Saturday fired what appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea, according to South Korea's military - the fifth round of launches in less than three weeks.

"I look forward to seeing Kim Jong Un in the not too distant future!" Mr Trump wrote.

The two leaders have met three times - in Singapore, Hanoi and at the Korean Demilitarised Zone - but critics say Mr Trump has received few concessions in the standoff over North Korea's nuclear weapons programme in exchange for the meetings.

 
 

At their second summit in Vietnam in February, Mr Trump rejected Mr Kim's demand for widespread sanctions relief in exchange for dismantling the North's main nuclear complex, a partial disarmament step.

The US and South Korea have scaled down their major military exercises since Mr Trump and Mr Kim's first summit in June 2018.

But the North insists even the downsized drills violate agreements between Mr Kim and Mr Trump and compel it to "develop, test and deploy the powerful physical means essential for national defence".

When they last met in June of this year, Mr Trump and Mr Kim agreed to resume working-level nuclear talks that have been stalled since February, but there have been no known meetings between the two sides since then.