U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday said he received a “beautiful” letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, in which Kim also expressed dissatisfaction with joint U.S. – ROK military exercises.
Trump made the remarks during a 30-minute question and answer sessions on the White House south lawn, telling reporters Kim’s letter was hand-delivered to him on Thursday.
The U.S. president also indicated that he would be open to meeting with Kim again, which would be the fourth between the two leaders.
“I got a very beautiful letter from Kim Jong-un yesterday … I think we’ll have another meeting. He really wrote a beautiful, three-page … a really beautiful letter,” Trump said.
Trump added he had never liked the joint U.S. – South Korea military exercises, citing their cost, adding that South Korea should “reimburse” the U.S. for them.
Although Washington and Seoul have agreed to scale down the drills, North Korea has warned that further negotiations would take place while they are ongoing.
Speaking earlier this week, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton said the current military exercises which began on Monday were mostly simulated and there were no plans to alter future drills with South Korea.
The White House declined to provide further information on the contents of Kim’s letter.
Trump and Kim have exchanged letters previously, with the U.S. president also saying he had received a “beautiful” letter from the North Korean leader in June.
The letter was delivered to Trump on the eve of the anniversary of the two leaders’ 2018 summit in Singapore and just before the U.S. president’s birthday and was later described as a “birthday greeting.”
Around ten days later, North Korean state media reported that Trump had also sent an “excellent” letter to Kim.
“Kim Jong Un said he would seriously contemplate the interesting content, appreciating the political judgment and extraordinary courage of President Trump,” reports from North Korean media said.
Trump later described the letter as “very friendly,” and the exchange marked an uptick in relations after a long period of diplomatic inactivity following the failed Hanoi summit in February.
Kim and would Trump would go on to meet at the DMZ between the two Koreas at the end of June, and impromptu and brief summit that was organized on around 24-hours notice.
But the positive momentum from Kim and Trump’s last meeting has yet to deliver any tangible, public results and although the two sides agreed to resume working-level talks, they have yet to materialize.
Instead, the DPRK has voiced displeasure with neighbor South Korea and conducted four missile tests since July 25, with the most recent coming early Tuesday morning KST.
Despite the North’s return to more a visibly provocative stance, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday said that he hopes working-level negotiations over the DPRK’s nuclear and missile program will resume in “two weeks.”