U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday tweeted a letter he received from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, with the accompanying message that “great progress is being made” in ongoing talks between the two countries.
The signed letter, dated July 6, was written the same day as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Pyongyang for ongoing talks with North Korean representatives.
“The significant first meeting with Your Excellency and the joint statement that we signed together in Singapore 24 days ago was indeed the start of a meaningful journey,” Kim wrote in the letter, according to a translation posted by Trump.
“Wishing that the invariable trust and confidence in Your Excellency Mr. President will be further strengthened in the future process of taking practical actions, I extend my conviction that the epochal process in promoting DPRK-U.S. relations will bring our next meeting forward,” the letter concluded.
In the letter, Kim also expressed his appreciation for Trump’s efforts toward improving U.S.-DPRK relations and towards the “faithful implementation of the joint statement.” He added that he believed with a “strong will, sincere efforts and unique approach” that he and Trump could open up a new future of bilateral relations.
A very nice note from Chairman Kim of North Korea. Great progress being made! pic.twitter.com/6NI6AqL0xt
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 12, 2018
Pompeo had been in Pyongyang over the weekend for ongoing working-level talks with Kim Yong Chol, the Vice Chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) Central Committee.
Shortly after his departure from North Korea on Saturday, DPRK state media issued a statement from its foreign ministry conveying its disappointment at the U.S. delegation’s “attitude” during the talks.
The DPRK side took exception to what it called U.S. demands for unilateral nuclear disarmament rather than a “balanced implementation” of the June 12 joint declaration.
“It is very clear from this and the recent statement that the DPRK is looking for more ‘practical actions’,” Stephan Haggard, director of the Korea-Pacific Program at IR/PS, told NK News.
“In effect, Kim Jong Un is saying that the United States – not North Korea – needs to take actions to ‘further strengthen’ the ‘invariable trust and confidence’. Well, if invariable then why does it need strengthening by the U.S.? There is nothing in this which directly suggests additional North Korean confidence-building steps,” he added.
Pompeo dismissed the North Korean comments while in Tokyo following the weekend meeting, insisting that progress had been made – a sentiment he reiterated in Brussels on Thursday at the NATO conference.
The June 12 Singapore declaration reaffirmed Pyongyang’s commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and committed Washington to security guarantees in return.
Photo: Kevin Lim/THE STRAITS TIMES
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