U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday he would like to see North Korean leader Kim Jong Un this weekend at the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea, and North Korea said a meeting would be “meaningful” if it happened. Trump, who is in Osaka, Japan, for a Group of 20 summit, is due to arrive in South Korea later on Saturday. He is scheduled to return to Washington on Sunday. If Trump and Kim were to meet, it would be for the third time in just over a year, and four months since their second summit, in Vietnam, broke down with no progress on U.S. efforts to press North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons. Trump made the offer to meet Kim in a comment on Twitter about his trip to South Korea. “While there, if Chairman Kim of North Korea sees this, I would meet him at the Border/DMZ just to shake his hand and say Hello(?)!” he said. Trump later told reporters his offer to Kim was a spur-of-the-moment idea: “I just thought of it this morning.” “We’ll be there and I just put out a feeler because I don’t know where he is right now. He may not be in North Korea,” he said. “If he’s there, we’ll see each other for two minutes, that’s all we can, but that will be fine,” he added. Trump said he and Kim “get along very well”. A senior North Korean official said a summit between
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
Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un who was killed in Malaysia in 2017, had been an informant for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. The Journal cited an unnamed “person knowledgeable about the matter” for the report, and said many details of Kim Jong Nam’s relationship with the CIA remained unclear. Reuters could not independently confirm the story. The CIA declined to comment. The Journal quoted the person as saying “There was a nexus” between the CIA and Kim Jong Nam. “Several former U.S. officials said the half brother, who had lived outside of North Korea for many years and had no known power base in Pyongyang, was unlikely to be able to provide details of the secretive country’s inner workings,” the Journal said. The former officials also said Kim Jong Nam had been almost certainly in contact with security services of other countries, particularly China’s, the Journal said. Kim Jong Nam’s role as a CIA informant is mentioned in a new book about Kim Jong Un, “The Great Successor,” by Washington Post reporter Anna Fifield that is due to be published on Tuesday. Fifield says Kim Jong Nam usually met his handlers in Singapore and Malaysia, citing a source with knowledge of the intelligence. The book says that security camera footage from Kim Jong Nam’s last trip to Malaysia showed him in a hotel elevator with an Asian-looking man who was reported to be a U.S. intelligence
The powerful younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attended a public event in Pyongyang for the first time in more than 50 days, casting further doubt on media speculation he had ordered her to lay low over the failed nuclear summit with Washington. North Korea’s state media Tuesday showed Kim Yo Jong clapping aside her brother, his wife and other top officials at the 150,000-seat May Day Stadium where thousands of gymnasts, dancers and flip-card-wielding spectators worked in precise unison to perform “The Land of the People.” The official Korean Central News Agency said the performers showed “beautiful and graceful rhythmic movements, high-spirited gymnastics, interesting national emotion and rich artistic depiction,” but also that Kim Jong Un was quite unhappy about their display. He seriously criticized the creators for their “wrong spirit of creation and irresponsible work attitude” and set forth “important tasks” to correctly implement the country’s revolutionary policy on literature and art, the agency said. State media often reports on Kim scolding factory officials, educators and others perceived as not performing to his standards. The “mass games” events were once routine in North Korea but were on hiatus for several years during the mourning for Kim’s father and only returned last year. Kim Yo Jong is a senior official of North Korea’s ruling party and is believed to be her brother’s closest confidant. She had accompanied him to his summits with President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in and had joined other dignitaries
A senior North Korean official who had been reported as being purged over the failed nuclear summit with Washington was shown in state media on Monday enjoying a concert near leader Kim Jong Un. North Korean publications on Monday showed Kim Yong Chol sitting five seats away from a clapping Kim Jong Un in the same row along with other top officials during a musical performance by the wives of Korean People’s Army officers. A report by Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency named Kim Yong Chol among the attendees of the event, which it said “impressively represented the ideological and mental features of KPA officers’ wives, who make every moment of their life honorable with ardent yearning for the leader.” Kim Yong Chol has been North Korea’s top nuclear negotiator and the counterpart of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo since Kim Jong Un entered nuclear talks with the U.S. early last year. He traveled to Washington and met President Donald Trump twice before Kim’s two summits with Trump. Negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang have been at a standstill since February, when the second summit between Trump and Kim broke down over what the United States described as excessive North Korean demands for sanctions relief in exchange for only a partial surrender of its nuclear capabilities. Last week, South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo cited an unidentified source in reporting that Kim Yong Chol had been sentenced to hard labor and ideological re-education over the failed summit in Hanoi, Vietnam’s
North Korea executed its nuclear envoy to the United States as part of a purge of officials who steered negotiations for a failed summit between leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump, a South Korean newspaper said on Friday. Kim Hyok Chol was executed in March at Mirim Airport in Pyongyang, along with four foreign ministry officials after they were charged with spying for the United States, the Chosun Ilbo reported, citing an unidentified source with knowledge of the situation. “He was accused of spying for the United States for poorly reporting on the negotiations without properly grasping U.S. intentions,” the source was quoted as saying. The February summit in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi, the second between Kim and Trump, failed to reach a deal because of conflicts over U.S. calls for complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and North Korean demands for sanctions relief. Reuters was unable to independently confirm the report. Previously, North Korean officials have been executed or purged only to reappear with a new title, according to media reports. A spokeswoman at South Korea’s Unification Ministry declined to comment. An official at the presidential Blue House in Seoul said it was inappropriate to comment on an unverified report. The United States is attempting to check on the reports of the envoy’s execution, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during his visit to Berlin on Friday When asked about reports of a “shakeup” of Kim Jong Un’s negotiating team in a May 5 interview with ABC
U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton is “more than ignorant” to argue that North Korea’s recent missile tests violated U.N. resolutions, the North’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday. Giving up missile tests would mean giving up the right to self defence, a North Korean foreign ministry spokesman was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the state KCNA news agency. The unidentified spokesman singled out Bolton, who last week said the recent tests “no doubt” violated U.N. Security Council resolutions. “His claim is indeed much more than ignorant,” the spokesman said. “Our military drill neither targeted anyone nor endangered the surrounding countries, but John Bolton makes dogged claims that it constitutes a violation of the ‘resolutions’, impudently poking his nose into other’s internal matters.” Bolton, a regular target of North Korean criticism, is more of a “security-destroying adviser” than a security adviser, the spokesman added. “It is not at all strange that perverse words always come out from the mouth of a structurally defective guy,” the spokesman said. Earlier in May, North Korean military forces test fired several rockets and missiles, including several guided missiles that experts said could be used to penetrate South Korean and American defences. The missiles flew on a flattened, lower-altitude trajectory, leading some officials in South Korea to question whether the weapons should be categorized as “ballistic missiles” and therefore a likely violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions against North Korea. The White House has played down the tests, with U.S.
“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.
North Korea’s second missile test on Thursday signals it is serious about developing new, short-range weapons that could be used early and effectively in any war with South Korea and the United States, analysts studying images of the latest launches say.
Last week, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un oversaw the first flight of a previously untested weapon - a relatively small, fast missile experts believe will be easier to hide, launch, and manoeuvre in flight.
Photos released by state media on Friday showed Thursday’s test involved the same weapon. The tests have increased tensions after the last U.S.-North Korea summit collapsed in February in Hanoi with no agreement over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programme.
North Korea’s “strike drill” last week at which leader Kim Jong Un oversaw the launch of rockets and at least one short-range ballistic missile was “regular and self-defensive,” the North’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday, according to state media.
“The recent drill conducted by our army is nothing more than part of the regular military training, and it has neither targeted anyone nor led to an aggravation of the situation in the region,” an unidentified ministry spokesperson said in a statement to the state-run KCNA news agency.
Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told a congressional hearing on Wednesday that North Korea launched “rockets and missiles”, the first time the Pentagon has detailed what it believes Pyongyang fired.