KIM SPEAKS: Kim Jong Un Praises 'EXTRAORDINARY' Trump in New Letter
13 July, 2018, 05:00 | Author: Edward Snyder
U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday released a letter from Kim Jong Un on Twitter, in which the North Korean leader voices confidence in efforts to end their nuclear standoff while urging Trump to take "practical steps" to build trust.
North Korea watchers downplayed the significance of the letter.
"Great progress being made", Trump tweeted on Thursday along with the letter, calling it a "very nice note from Chairman Kim". The letter was dated July 6, 2018, and was addressed to "H.E. Donald J. Trump", in what appears to be the latest sign that the two men were getting along after making history at the first-ever meeting between a sitting US president and North Korean supreme leader in Singapore last month.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Pyongyang on July 6 and seemingly made little progress in fleshing out details of North Korea's commitment for "complete denuclearisation".
An agreement to return the remains of USA service members was touted by the Trump administration as one of the commitments secured during the president's historic summit with Kim on 12 June. Kim also agreed then to repatriate remains of US troops who died during the Korean War six decades ago.
In another development on Thursday, North Korean officials failed to turn up for talks with a USA team on the repatriation of the remains of American soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean war.
The Defense Department estimates there are up to 5,300 sets of US service member remains still somewhere in North Korea.
"The road ahead will be hard and challenging and we know that critics will try to minimize the work that we've achieved", he said.
While it was not immediately clear why the North Korean delegation skipped the meeting, the apparent snub reinforced skepticism around Pyongyang's willingness to commit to denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
Last month, Trump said North Korea had agreed to give back the remains of thousands of soldiers, and that the transfer had already begun, a claim Pompeo later corrected before a U.S. Senate committee. Pyongyang has asked the UN Command Armistice Commission to upgrade the talks to a higher level to include a US general, South Korea's foreign ministry said.
It had been expected on Thursday at the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjom.
But following the meeting, North Korea released a statement calling the meeting "regrettable" and accusing the USA of using "gangster-like" tactics to push it towards nuclear disarmament.
President Trump met with North Korean Dictator 26 days ago.
"I extend my conviction that the epochal progress in promoting DPRK-US relations will bring our next meeting forward".
But there's growing skepticism in Washington over the Trump administration's engagement with North Korea.
Speaking hours earlier at a press conference in Brussels, Belgium, Trump pointed to North Korea's suspension of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile testing in the past eight months as a sign of progress in efforts to denuclearize the regime.
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