In a tweet early Saturday, Trump said that Kim had sent him a letter seeking a meeting to start negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang on denuclearization, following the conclusion of the United States’s joint military exercises with the North’s rival, South Korea.
“It was a long letter, much of it complaining about the ridiculous and expensive exercises (between South Korea and the US),” Trump wrote. North Korea views such drills as rehearsals for invasion. Trump said he is also opposed to such drills due to their heavy costs. Trump told reporters on Saturday he had received a “very beautiful letter” from Kim.
Trump then claimed that Kim had apologized to him for North Korea’s recent testing of short range missiles. The US president said Kim had told him the “testing would stop when the exercises end.” “It was a very positive letter. I think we’ll have another meeting. He really wrote a beautiful, three-page – I mean great from top to bottom – a really beautiful letter,” Trump said.
“I look forward to seeing Kim Jong-un in the not too distant future! A nuclear free North Korea will lead to one of the most successful countries in the world!” he added. In the meantime, Pyongyang has said that Washington’s hostilities continue even as Trump seems to warm up to Kim.
Washington has so far refused to offer any sanctions relief in return for several unilateral steps already taken by Pyongyang. North Korea has demolished at least one nuclear test site and agreed to allow international inspectors into a missile engine test facility.
Also, Trump and Kim have met three times to discuss the demilitarization of the Korean Peninsula despite the ongoing hostilities. The first meeting was held in Singapore in June last year, the second in Vietnam in February, and their third brief meeting was at the Korean border at the end of June.
In the final meeting, the two leaders agreed to kick-start working-level talks.