Monday, 23 July, 2018

Trump releases 'very nice' letter from Kim Jong Un

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Ellis Copeland | 13 July, 2018, 15:20

President Trump on Thursday released a personal note from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un praising the "epochal progress" since their summit in Singapore last month, despite a series of recent setbacks that have cast doubt on denuclearization talks.

The North Korean leader affirmed his firm belief that "the strong will, honest efforts and unique approach" the two have "aimed at opening up a new future between the DPRK and the US will surely come to fruition".

In his note, Kim offered no reassurances that he is committed to relinquishing his country's nuclear weapons or ballistic missile arsenal, referring more generally to "the faithful implementation of the joint statement" agreed to in Singapore.

If North Korea does not make substantial progress by that time, then Trump will be forced to revert to his old game of chicken policies.

The message came after Secretary of State Michael Pompeo returned from his third visit to North Korea.

Other speculation is that North Korea was discomforted with the way it was portrayed by the US media _ as trying to make money from the war remains.

North Korean officials did not turn up to a Thursday meeting with the USA military about repatriating the remains of the war dead, according to a US official with knowledge of the situation.

The US military also announced that 100 wooden coffins had been dispatch to Panmunjom to receive the remains, although repatriation has yet to take place.

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In a statement to Anadolu Agency, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the USA was informed "midday" that the North Koreans wanted to move the meeting back to July 15.

North Korean officials skipped planned talks on repatriating the remains of American war dead Thursday in the latest snub of a US administration eager to show progress on efforts to rid the communist state of nuclear weapons. He added that "great progress being made!".

North Korean and USA teams, as well as United Nations officials, had been due to discuss the details of repatriation. "We will be ready".

A source with knowledge of the discussions between Pompeo and North Korea said the feeling at the White House was the trip went "as badly as it could have gone".

Although the letter was written less than a week ago, it's not clear where US-North Korean talks stand now. Roughly 5,300 U.S. troops presumed to have been killed in the Korean war are unaccounted for.

NATO leaders on Wednesday called on all nations to maintain "decisive pressure" on North Korea, including by fully implementing United Nations sanctions, to persuade it to give up it nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

But Pyongyang warned that the future of the peace process was being jeopardised by "unilateral and gangster-like" U.S. demands.

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