North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of North Korea's foundation in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Monday. Photo: KCNA via REUTERS
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N Korean leader Kim asks Trump for another meeting in letter

20 Comments
By Hyonhee Shin and Steve Holland

U.S. President Donald Trump received a "very warm, very positive" letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un asking for a second meeting and the White House is looking at scheduling one, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Monday.

The two countries have been discussing North Korea's nuclear programmes since their leaders met in Singapore in June, although that summit's outcome was criticised for being short on concrete details about how and whether Kim is willing to give up weapons that threaten the United States.

The likely timing of a second Trump-Kim meeting was unclear.

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in is scheduled to have his third summit with Kim next week in Pyongyang, and his government had pushed for a three-way summit involving Trump, with the aim of agreeing a joint declaration to end the 1950-53 Korean War.

The conflict ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty, leaving the U.S.-led United Nations forces including South Korea technically still at war with North Korea.

While South Korea had hoped an accord formally ending the conflict could have been unveiled on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly later this month, Moon's security chief Chung Eui-yong said last week, without elaborating, that the necessary conditions for a three-way meeting were missing.

Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton has also said he did not believe Kim would attend such a gathering.

Hopes of progress were revived however after Trump told reporters on Friday that a personal letter from Kim was on the way.

"It was a very warm, very positive letter," Sanders said at Monday's briefing.

"The primary purpose of the letter was to request and look to schedule another meeting with the president which we are open to and are already in the process of coordinating that," she said.

Sanders told reporters the letter exhibited "a continued commitment to focus on denuclearisation of the peninsula."

She said a military parade in Pyongyang on Sunday was "a sign of good faith" because it did not feature any long-range missiles.

In South Korea, officials nurtured hope that next week's inter-Korean summit could provide renewed momentum to nuclear negotiations, after last month's setback when Trump cancelled a visit to Pyongyang by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo due to a lack of progress.

South Korea's President Moon is expected to present some proposal to Kim suggesting phased steps toward denuclearisation and U.S. security guarantees including an official end to the Korean War. Moon could then discuss the idea when he meets Trump during the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York later this month, South Korean officials said.

Trump asked Moon to act as "chief negotiator" between Washington and Pyongyang during their phone call last week, Moon's spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom told reporters.

"In order for us to move toward the next level of dismantling North Korea's existing nuclear weapons, the leaders of North Korea and the United States once again must have big ideas and take bold decisions," Moon told a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

"North Korea should abolish its nuclear programmes, and the United States foster such conditions with corresponding action."

The nuclear envoys of South Korea and the United States also held a meeting on Tuesday as part of efforts to jumpstart stalled nuclear talks between Pyongyang and Washington.

Lee Do-hoon, South Korea's nuclear negotiator, told reporters that he and his U.S. counterpart Stephen Biegun discussed how to bring progress on the North's denuclearisation and establishing peace on the Korean peninsula.

"We take this very seriously, the responsibility that is on both of us," Biegun told Lee at the start of the talks.

"But we also have a tremendous opportunity created by President Trump, by President Moon and by Chairman Kim. We need to do everything we can to make the most of this moment of opportunity."

Harry Kazianis, director of defence studies from the Centre for the National Interest, a think tank in Washington reckoned Trump was right to pursue a second meeting with the North Korean leader .

"When you combine Kim's pledge to denuclearize by the end of Trump's first term, as well as not displaying any long-range ballistic missiles during the north's recent 70th anniversary celebrations, there are reasons for optimism," he said.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2018.

©2018 GPlusMedia Inc.

20 Comments
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Some on here apparently have more faith in Trump's by the seat of his pants diplomacy than others. I can't trust Trump and I can't trust Kim Jong Un, so I can't trust anything they claim to have said behind closed doors.

Oh, there's sweet tweet here and there between these two loudmouths, but this is far from reassuring. After all, actions speak louder than words.

"I believe it is peace for our time."

.....Neville Chamberlain

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Another meeting? Good idea -- since there was no agreement made last time.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Use of a letter is "on record" and is better than by phone and leave no doubt.

Great..! Kim is still ready and willing for a "dialog", face to face.

Personally, I think Kim wants "direct" contact and not the "implied" and "pretentious" contacts through persons with agendas that are different than what was initially discussed face to face. To top it off, the media, the politicians and pundits with their own opinions and agendas do not help the situation which Kim faces domestically and internationally.

He needs time and space for him to live up to the initial agreement made with Trump. It takes "time" and "effort" as well as tremendous expenditure to carry out much of what was publicly announced. That is just as Trump needs time for the US public, media and the politicians as well as the rest of the world to realize exactly what happened and how things are about to change but NOT as every single interested person, group or country may "want" or "expect". 70 years of conflict and just as many years of physical infrastructure and peoples' attitudes cannot be changed overnight.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Seems Kim likes meetings. Use them as progress checkpoints towards total nuclear disarming. When they've gotten 25% complete, have the next meeting. At 50%, the next, then at 75% and a huge party at 100%. Win-Win.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Let them meet and talk as much as they can. Negotiations, however difficult and frustrating, are always better then hostilities. And yes, no North Korean missiles over Japan this year.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Crazy: "Kim: "Really... you think he'll fall for it again? How stupid can he be?" blah blah blah

Gosh, Crazy, I'd hate to hear what you'd say if Kim had written "Screw you, Drump."

Fact: There have been zero N Korean missiles flying over Japan since last November.

Fact: Obama didn't do jack about the N Korean problem during his entire eight years.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

First one worked really well, so why not try again. Keep it up and he'll have Trump salivating over a Nobel every time Kim says, "Summit," and rings a bell.

Trump is not the other guy, The only thing he cares about is making sure the North denuclearizes and not about some stupid statue

Of course he does. He’s man utterly devoid of ego and prepared to do anything for his country. A patriot to the bone, well, bone spurs.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Oh no , not another letter, what with the op-ed and now a letter from Chairman Kim, we haven't found out who wrote the op-ed yet, maybe the same person who wrote this letter from Kim. The timing of these WH releases is incredible, anything to give the trumpets hope. Maybe the letter could be made public, nah, I'm daydreamin. So its business as usual at the kindergarten, burgers and coke anyone.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

First one worked really well, so why not try again. Keep it up and he'll have Trump salivating over a Nobel every time Kim says, "Summit," and rings a bell.

Trump is not the other guy, The only thing he cares about is making sure the North denuclearizes and not about some stupid statue

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

every little step counts imagine your country your family everyone you know had been enslaved bombed to smithereens ravaged raped tortured killed abducted for generations you'd be very cautious to have a relationship with anyone

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Yep, The JT strategy experts are out in force, desperately trying to find reasons why this is a bad development. Amusing.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

To give credit, NK does seem to be making an effort. They met with SK, they appear to be asking to meet with Trump, and they left their nukes out of their military parade on their anniversary this year, and that’s a pretty major step for them.

It could all just be NK playing the long game though. The more times they meet with Trump, they get two things. They get a bit of goodwill from the world, which they can burn off at a later date, and propaganda material to use with their own people. Legitimacy for having met with the president of the USA.

NK should be given the opportunity to move themselves forward. But everyone needs to approach this carefully.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

How long before the Trumpians jump on this article and accuse "lefties" of wanting this meeting, or any further summit, to fail?

If another summit does go ahead, of course we want it to work. We all want peace in Korea and east Asia. What we'd like to see, though, is some concrete evidence of progress other than just photo ops and mutual self-congratulation between the two leaders.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I'm sure Shinz will get a fax... Maybe

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Kim: "Really... you think he'll fall for it again? How stupid can he be?"

Trump: "He likes me! I knew he liked me!"

Kim: "Incredible... He's like dealing with a child... a foolish, incredibly stupid child..."

Trump: "I hope he has a parade for me. I'll bet he'll have those hot Asian chicks in uniform. He really likes me!"

Kim: "Putin was right... This is easy.!"

First one worked really well, so why not try again. Keep it up and he'll have Trump salivating over a Nobel every time Kim says, "Summit," and rings a bell.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Trump needs a hug, or some coaching to silence his opponents.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Oh great, another meeting that goes nowhere.

That sounds sarcastic, but I mean it. Another meeting that goes nowhere is actually about the best we can hope for from these two nincompoops. Way better to let them play their game of "important grown-ups having meetings" than fighting with each other.

Hope they have a lot of flags and take a lot of pictures at the next meeting like at the last one. Maybe they can do it in Mars a Lago so Trump can earn a bit of coin on the side too. Win-win.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I really really do hope this ends well but I have little faith in Kim and Trump unfortunately.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Time for another photo-op. Kim is testing the waters to see if Trump is dumb enough to come a second time.

Trump loves dictators, so he'll probably jump on this. If Putin and Duterte are going to be there too, then Trump would be guaranteed to make it. Trump would love that.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

i have Skype. takes 10 seconds.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

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