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Dagyum Ji is a senior NK News correspondent based in Seoul. She previously worked for Reuters TV.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has received another personal letter from U.S. President Donald Trump, North Korean state-run media reported on Sunday.
Kim, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) and the party daily the Rodong Sinmun said, “expressed satisfaction after reading the personal letter, saying that it contains excellent content.”
“Kim Jong Un said he would seriously contemplate the interesting content, appreciating the political judgment and extraordinary courage of President Trump,” reports continued.
Sunday’s edition of the Rodong Sinmun, which serves as the chief organ of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), carried a photo of the North Korean leader reading the letter on its front page.
State media did not elaborate on the content of the message or reveal when, or how, it was delivered.
But the timing of inclusion in the Rodong is notable: NK News understands the letter was delivered early last week, before Xi visited North Korea.
Furthermore, a mirrored version of the photo containing the letter, adjusted to make the text clearer to read, appears to show it having been written on June 12, the one year anniversary of the Singapore summit.
The two leaders have in the past year exchanged letters several times as a means of top-level communication, most notably earlier in the year in the weeks leading up to their second summit in Hanoi.
Sunday’s announcement comes just a few weeks after President Trump told press that he’d recently received a “beautiful” personal letter from Kim, reiterating his view that North Korea has “tremendous potential.”
He and Kim continued to have a “great relationship,” Trump added.
In an interview with Time on June 17, the U.S. President showed a letter written by Kim explaining that it had been delivered to him the previous day by hand, and that it was a “birthday letter.”
“We got our prisoners back. We don’t have nuclear testing. We don’t have any testing, we don’t have — other than short-range missiles, which they did a couple of like every other countries test short-term, these were standard short-term missiles — there are no ballistic missiles being tested,” he said at the time.
“There’s no nuclear tests, and we have a very good relationship.”
News of the delivery of the personal letter from Trump, too, comes just two days after Chinese President Xi Jinping departed Pyongyang following a two-day summit.
Saturday saw the North Korean media report the two leaders “have a deep understanding of each other, reached a consensus on important issues” and that both had expressed their will to develop bilateral ties “no matter how the international situation changes.”
The first day of that summit saw Xinhua News Agency report that Kim had expressed his discontent over the slow pace of negotiations with the U.S., and his view that Washington is yet to adequately reciprocate the DPRK’s goodwill steps towards denuclearization.
The DPRK has not “received positive responses from the party concerned,” the North Korean leader told Xi — likely a reference to the U.S. — although it “has taken many active measures to avoid tensions and control the situation on the Korean peninsula.”
Nevertheless, he said North Korea is “willing to maintain patience” and will push for positive results on the “peninsula issue” with China.
Xi and Trump are now set to meet for a summit on the sidelines of the Osaka G-20 summit on June 28 and 29, with South Korean President Moon Jae-in also expected to hold talks with the Chinese leader and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Blue House confirmed on Friday.
Trump is then scheduled to visit Seoul on June 29 and 30 for a summit with Moon.
South Korea’s presidential office on Saturday said Seoul expects an “early resumption of dialogue and negotiation for the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula” following those meetings.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Additional reporting by Chad O’Carroll
Featured Image: KCNA