On Thursday, the White House said that U.S. President Donald J. Trump had received a new letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Trump had tweeted earlier in the day that he had received a letter and thanked Kim “for your nice letter.”
“I look forward to seeing you soon,” Trump added, suggesting that he may meet Kim a second time this year. The two leaders met for the first time on June 12 in Singapore, in the first-ever summit meeting between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader.
Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, confirmed that the letter was “aimed at following up on their meeting in Singapore” and “advancing the commitments made” there.
Trump had earlier suggested that he and Kim might meet next in New York, leading observers to speculate that Kim might travel to the United States to attend the upcoming general debate of the United Nations General Assembly.
Kim’s new letter, the content of which remains unpublicized, follows a trip to Pyongyang in early July by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Following that meeting, the North Korean Foreign Ministry released a statement chastising Pompeo for his demands of “unilateral disarmament” while in Pyongyang.
Kim and Trump, in Singapore, reached an agreement that included a commitment by North Korea to work “toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” North Korea does not interpret that statement to mean its unilateral disarmament.
In the same statement, the North Korean Foreign Ministry statement noted that while the talks were “regrettable,” the two sides could carry forward by building off the personal rapport between Trump and Kim.
“Chairman Kim Jong Un expressed his expectation and conviction that good personal relations forged with President Trump and his sentiments of good faith built towards the latter at the Singapore summit and talks would be further consolidated through the process of future dialogues such as high-level talks this time,” the statement noted.
The new letter from Kim underlines this aspect of North Korea’s approach to the ongoing diplomacy with the United States. For Kim, building goodwill with Trump and avoiding the precise details of what the phrase “complete denuclearization” entails is ideal.
The latest letter from the North Korean leader also follows the latest repatriation of Korean War-era remains of U.S. personnel who had been killed-in-action or held as prisoners of war.
Fifty-five caskets containing what North Korean claimed were the remains of U.S. servicemembers arrived in Hawaii on Wednesday.