The son of the highest-profile South Korean to defect to North Korea has arrived in the North to permanently resettle, North Korean state media said. The state-run Uriminzokkiri website reported that Choe In-guk, about 72, arrived in Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital, on Saturday to dedicate the rest of his life to Korean unification at the guidance of leader Kim Jong Un. The website published photos and a video showing a bespectacled Choe in a beret reading his arrival statement at Pyongyang’s airport. Choe said he decided to live in North Korea for good because it was his parents’ “dying wishes” for him to “follow” North Korea and work for its unification with South Korea, according to a written statement published on the website. Choe is the son of former South Korean Foreign Minister Choe Dok-shin, who defected to North Korea with his wife in 1986, years after he was reportedly embroiled in a corruption scandal and political disputes with then-South Korean President Park Chung-hee. He died in 1989. Some analysts say North Korea accepted Choe In-guk so it could use him as a propaganda tool to tell its citizens its system is superior to South Korea’s. North Korea is struggling to revive its moribund economy and improve people’s livelihoods, since the United States has not agreed on major sanctions relief until it takes significant steps toward nuclear disarmament. South Korea’s Unification Ministry said Choe In-guk was in North Korea without special permission from the Seoul government to visit the North.
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
The U.S. said Thursday that it has seized a North Korean cargo ship that was used to violate international sanctions, a first-of-its kind enforcement action that comes amid a tense moment in relations between the two countries.
The "Wise Honest," North Korea's second largest cargo ship, was detained in April 2018 as it traveled toward Indonesia. It's now in the process of being moved to American Samoa, Justice Department officials said.
Officials made the announcement hours after North Korea fired two suspected short-range missiles toward the sea, the second weapons launch in five days and a possible signal that stalled talks over its nuclear weapons program are in trouble. The public disclosure that the vessel is now in U.S. custody may further inflame tensions, though U.S. officials said the timing of their complaint was not a response to the missile launch.
“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.
“I aim to have lots of heart-to-heart talks with Chairman Kim Jong Un,” South Korean President Moon Jae-in said during a meeting with top advisers, according to his office. “What I want to achieve is peace. I mean irreversible, permanent peace that is not shaken by international politics.”