US President Donald Trump sent North Korean leader Kim Jong-un an “excellent” letter, the North’s state-run news agency reported yesterday, quoting Kim as saying he would “seriously contemplate it.”
The White House declined to confirm that Trump had sent a letter to Kim.
Kim “said with satisfaction that the letter is of excellent content,” the Korean Central News Agency reported.
Photo: AP via Korean Central News Agency / Korea News Service
“Appreciating the political judging faculty and extraordinary courage of President Trump, Kim Jong-un said that he would seriously contemplate the interesting content,” the agency said.
South Korea’s presidential office said it sees the exchange of letters between Kim and Trump as a positive development for keeping the momentum for dialogue on nuclear talks alive.
Trump’s letter came days after Kim’s summit with visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), which experts said underscored China’s emergence as a major player in the diplomatic push to resolve the nuclear standoff with the North.
North Korean state media said Kim and Xi discussed the political situation surrounding the Korean Peninsula and reached unspecified consensus on important issues.
Xi is expected to meet with Trump this week in Japan during the G20 summit.
Analysts said he could pass him a message from Kim about the nuclear negotiations.
Kim said during his New Year’s speech said that he would seek a “new way” if the US persists with sanctions and pressure against North Korea.
After the collapse of his meeting with Trump in Hanoi in February, Kim said Washington has until the end of the year to offer mutually acceptable terms for a deal to salvage the negotiations.
The US blamed the breakdown on excessive North Korean demands for sanctions relief in exchange for only a partial surrender of its nuclear capabilities.
Nuclear negotiations have been at a standstill since then, but on the eve of the anniversary of their Singapore summit in June last year, Trump told US reporters he received a “beautiful” letter from Kim, without revealing what was written.
In an interview with Time magazine earlier this month, Trump said he also received a “birthday letter” from Kim that was delivered by hand a day before.
Trump and Kim also exchanged letters last year after their first summit.
In September last year, Trump told a cheering crowd at a campaign rally in West Virginia that Kim “wrote me beautiful letters and they’re great letters. We fell in love.”
Analysts said the gesture of sending letters is part of North Korean efforts to present Kim as a legitimate international statesman who is reasonable and capable of negotiating solutions and making deals.
Kim might see personal letters as an important way to communicate with leaders of countries the North never had close ties with, because of the weight of formality they provide, they said.
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