U.S. President Donald Trump sent North Korean leader Kim Jong Un an “excellent” letter, the North’s state-run news agency reported Sunday, quoting Kim as saying he would “seriously contemplate” the content. The White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, said Trump sent a letter and “correspondence between the two leaders has been ongoing.” Formal talks between the U.S. and North Korea broke down after a failed summit between Kim and Trump in February in Vietnam. But earlier in June Trump told U.S. reporters he received a “beautiful” letter from Kim, without revealing what was written. 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. The official stances remain the same. The U.S. is demanding that North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons entirely before international sanctions are lifted. North Korea is seeking a step-by-step approach in which moves toward denuclearization are matched by concessions from the U.S., notably a relaxation of the sanctions. Pyongyang’s Korean Central News Agency’s report on the Trump letter said Kim “said with satisfaction that the letter is of excellent content.” “Appreciating the political judging faculty and extraordinary courage of President Trump, Kim Jong Un said that he would seriously contemplate the interesting content,” the agency said, without elaborating. South Korea’s presidential office said it sees the exchange of letters between Kim and Trump as a positive development for keeping the momentum for dialogue alive. News of Trump’s letter came days
“We hereby make it clear once again that the United States would not be able to move us even an inch with the device it is now weighing in its mind, and the further its mistrust and hostile acts toward the DPRK grow, the fiercer our reaction will be,” the statement said, referring to North Korea’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“As a result, our effort to communicate with the Korean People’s Army regarding the possible resumption of joint recovery operation for 2019 has been suspended,” the agency said. “We have reached the point where we can no longer effectively plan, coordinate, and conduct field operations in the DPRK during this fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30, 2019.”
“A North Korean soldier was detected crossing the military demarcation line” by South Korean troops using surveillance equipment, the military Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement. “Related agencies plan to investigate him regarding the details of how he came to the South,” it said.
Washington was playing a “double game”, said a lengthy commentary carried by the North’s official KCNA news agency, and was “little short of destroying” the rare diplomatic opportunity between the two.
“Hostile policy and reciprocity can not go together,” it said, and negotiations would not move forward “an inch with an obstacle called sanctions. The US… is responding to good faith with evil,” it added.