North Korean leader Kim Jong-un received a letter with “excellent content” from US President Donald Trump, according to the Korean Central News Agency on Sunday.
Pyongyang’s official mouthpiece said that Kim expressed his satisfaction with the letter after reading it.
“Appreciating the political judging faculty and extraordinary courage of President Trump, Kim Jong-un said that he would seriously contemplate the interesting content,” the KCNA said in a three-sentence report. It did not disclose further details on the contents of the letter.
The letter from Trump is believed to be a reply to Kim’s earlier letter to Trump that the US president described as “beautiful and warm” on June 11. Trump, at the time, said he expected “something very positive will happen.”
On Sunday, Cheong Wa Dae said that the exchange of letters is a positive signal for the resumption of nuclear talks.
“The government views the exchange of letters between the US and North Korean leaders positively for carrying on the momentum of dialogue between the two,” presidential spokesperson Koh Min-jung told reporters in a text message.
She added that the government had been aware of Trump’s letter to Kim through communications with the US administration.
On June 13, President Moon Jae-in said that Kim’s letter to Trump contained a “very interesting part” that Trump had not announced, sparking speculations that it may have included a new proposal regarding denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
In Washington, however, the letter was regarded as a birthday greeting with no details on ways to move their stalled denuclearization talks forward, according to CNN, citing unnamed US administration officials. In an interview with Time magazine last week, Trump said he also received a “birthday letter” from Kim that was delivered by hand a day before.
Since a second summit between Trump and Kim ended without a deal in Hanoi in February, negotiations for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula have hit an impasse.
From the fruitless summit, both sides realized there was a wide gap over stances on the scope of Pyongyang’s denuclearization and Washington’s sanctions relief.
While taking a low-key approach in engagements with Trump and Moon, Kim played the US and China off each other to increase its leverage, analysts said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping made a state visit to the North last week for the first time since he took power in 2012.
During a summit with Xi in Pyongyang, Kim expressed his frustration with the lack of progress, saying he had not received a meaningful response from the US even though the North had taken “many positive steps” to ease tension.
North Korea had not conducted missile or nuclear tests for over a year before firing off two short-range missiles in May. Kim also called for a bold and flexible decision from the US in April while giving a deadline of the end of this year.
Kim told Xi that North Korea would “like to remain patient, but hopes the concerned party (the US) will meet face to face with North Korea to explore ways to resolve tensions and produce results.”
The Chinese leader pledged to support its ally for “reasonable security and development concerns,” adding that the international community expects the US and North Korea to resume their nuclear talks.