Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Trump releases 'very nice' letter from Kim Jong Un


Earlier Thursday, a diplomatic source here said the USA and North Korea were still in talks to set a date for working-level dialogue over the repatriation of remains of American troops.

He wrote: "I deeply appreciate the energetic and extraordinary efforts made by Your Excellency Mr President for the improvement of relations between the two countries and the faithful implementation of the joint statement".

Kim refers to Trump as "your excellency" five times, praises the "improvement of relations" between the US and North Korea, and expresses hope for a new future.

He also says that bilateral trust should be "further strengthened in the future process of taking practical actions". Great progress being made!'

Pompeo traveled to Pyongyang for two days last week in a bid to flesh out denuclearization commitments made during last month's historic summit between Trump and Kim.

Representatives of the USA and North Korea were expected to have working-level talks at the inter-Korean border truce village of Panmunjom on Thursday to hash out the details of the repatriation, but the discussions did not occur.

But following the meeting, North Korea released a statement calling the meeting "regrettable" and accusing the USA of using "gangster-like" tactics to push it towards nuclear disarmament.

"The road ahead will be hard and challenging and we know that critics will try to minimize the work that we've achieved", he said.

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President Trump tweeted out the letter and an English translation on Thursday.

Separately, North Korean officials did not show up at planned talks with the U.S. on Thursday to discuss repatriating the remains of American soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War.

"The North Koreans were just messing around, not serious about moving forward", the source told CNN's Michelle Kosinski, adding that Pompeo had been promised a meeting with Kim, and the fact that it failed to materialize sent a big message.

North Korea, meanwhile, lashed out at Washington for presenting "gangster-like demands" for complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization.

"We will be ready", U.S. state department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

The BBC reported speculation that North Korea may want payment for the return of the remains.

Trump has sought to cast his summit with Kim as a major victory, although reports have suggested North Korea is continuing with its nuclear programme and promises of "denuclearisation" remain vague.

"The US wanted to have talks as early as 12 July but the North did not seem to be ready", an unnamed Seoul official said.

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