Trump hails progress after receiving note from North Korea's Kim

Frederick Owens
July 13, 2018

President Donald Trump on Thursday tweeted a letter to him from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un heralding "epochal progress" in U.S.

I firmly believe that the strong will, honest efforts and unique approach of myself and Your Excellency Mr. President aimed at opening up a future between the DPRK and the US will surely come to fruition.

That was the day Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived for two days of meetings with top North Korean officials, which ended on a sour note after Pyongyang blasted the USA side for issuing a "unilateral and gangster-like demand for denuclearization".

Kim voices hope that "the invariable trust and confidence in Your Excellency Mr. President will be further strengthened in the future process of taking practical actions".

The letter, dated July 6 and translated from Korean, called the two leaders' "significant" first summit on June 12 the "the start of a meaningful journey".

Trump has touted the return of remains as one of the successes of his historic June 12 summit with Kim in Singapore.

But the North Korean leader never showed up during Pompeo's three-day visit.

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And even as Trump released Kim's note, the USA was asking the U.N. Security Council to punish North Korea after finding that Pyongyang had violated restrictions on refined oil imports.

A planned meeting Thursday between North Korean and USA officials in the Demilitarized Zone between the two Koreas to discuss the return of the remains was postponed.

According to a diplomatic source in Seoul, North Korean officials have yet to show up as of 2 p.m. when United Nations military officials already headed to the meeting point in Panmunjom, Yonhap reported.

Roh Kyu-deok, a spokesman for South Korea's Foreign Ministry, said the South Korean government is "constantly in contact with the US counterpart" about progress of the talks on war remains repatriation, but declined to comment on any details, saying that all inquiries on the issue be directed to the USA authorities. The president rattled USA allies by demanding that the other NATO nations pay more toward their own defense, although he stopped short of threatening to pull the United States out of the trans-Atlantic alliance.

"This is a decades-long challenge, getting the North Koreans to make a fundamental strategic decision, which is that the nuclear weapons they possess today frankly present a threat to them and not security", said Pompeo, CNN reported.

There is speculation that North Korea may also want payment for the return of the remains, our correspondent adds. The expected North Korean officials never arrived, according to the official who requested anonymity as he was not permitted to talk publicly about the event.

While it was not immediately clear why the North Korean delegation skipped the meeting, the apparent snub reinforced skepticism around Pyongyang's willingness to commit to denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

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