WASHINGTON, U.S. – Days after agreeing to a second meeting with the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the U.S. President Donald Trump has addressed a letter to him.
In a statement to reporters, the White House said that Trump sent a letter to the North Korean leader.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said, “The President responded to Chairman Kim’s letter.”
Trump’s letter was sent to the North Korean leader days after a delegation from North Korea met with U.S. diplomats in Washington.
Last week, North Korea’s lead negotiator on nuclear talks, Kim Yong Col met with Trump at the Oval Office and handed him a letter from the leader of the nuclear nation.
At the end of the meeting, Trump told reporters that he had agreed to hold a second summit with Kim Jong Un at the end of February.
He said that the specific date and location of the summit would be announced later.
Trump decided to go ahead with a second summit with Kim Jong Un despite some U.S. lawmakers and his advisers criticizing North Korea for failing to dismantle its nuclear weapons programs.
The U.S. President held the historic first-ever meeting with the North Korean leader in Singapore last year.
Trump’s decision to proceed with a second meeting with Kim Jong Un comes at a time when both the countries are locked in dispute over denuclearization of the Korean peninsula – a vow both the leaders made at the end of their first summit in June 2018.
Kim Jong Un’s great satisfaction
On Thursday, the North Korean state news agency said in a report that the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un had received Trump’s letter and had expressed “great satisfaction.”
The KCNA Watch website quoted the Korean Central News Agency as saying, “Kim Jong Un said that we will believe in President Trump’s positive way of thinking, wait with patience and in good faith and, together with the U.S., advance step by step toward the goal to be reached by the two countries.”
The KCNA report further said, “Kim Jong Un spoke highly of President Trump for expressing his unusual determination and will for the settlement of the issue with a great interest in the second DPRK-U.S. summit.”
The news agency said, “Upon receiving the good personal letter sent by President Trump, the Supreme Leader expressed great satisfaction.”
It added that Kim Jong Un had ordered aides to make “good technical preparations” for the second summit.
The report noted that members of the delegation, led by Kim Yong Chol, that visited Washington recently briefed the North Korean leader on their talks with Trump and the U.S. side.
They then handed Kim Jong Un, the letter from Trump.
However, so far, North Korea has not announced the day and location of the second summit.
Talks deadlocked: What next?
After Trump’s first summit with the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in June 2018 – both the leaders ended hostilities and vowed to work towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
However, since then talks have hit a hard corner over Washington’s demand for North Korea’s complete denuclearization and Pyongyang’s demands for relief from crippling sanctions first.
North Korea has also refused to comply with the unilateral demand to denuclearize.
Since June last year, both the countries have engaged in multiple rounds of talks, exchanging plans and implementing few of the promises made when the two sides met for the first time.
Yet, the bigger goal of denuclearization has remained unattained, with both sides making non-negotiable demands of each other.
The U.S. wants North Korea to completely abandon its nuclear program and do away with its highly sophisticated arsenal of missiles and weapons.
However, North Korea has repeatedly demanded relief from the crippling economic sanctions before it takes any steps towards dismantling its nuclear weapons program – which the reclusive nation took decades to build and perfect.
North Korea’s unwillingness to compromise and resolve the deadlocked talks forced the U.S. to pressurize the country with further sanctions.
North Korea expressed “shock and indignation” at the new sanctions, calling it “the greatest U.S. miscalculation.”
In his New Year speech, Kim Jong Un warned that his country might change course if the U.S. continued to uphold economic sanctions against it.