North Korean leader Kim Jong Un received a personal letter from U.S. President Donald Trump, state media KCNA reported.
The letter has “excellent content” and Kim, along with his military, read it with “satisfaction,” KCNA reported. Correspondence between Trump and Kim “has been ongoing,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement, confirming the letter was sent by the president.
The correspondence emerged as China’s President Xi Jinping told Kim that the world wanted him to make progress in nuclear talks with the US, underscoring Beijing’s key role in negotiations. The Chinese president said during a landmark visit to Pyongyang on Thursday that he is willing to play a “positive and constructive role” toward achieving the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
Xi traveled to North Korea a week ahead of a planned meeting with Trump on the sidelines the Group of 20 summit in Japan, in what’s shaping up to be a possible turning point in the trade war between the world’s two largest economies. China’s role as North Korea’s vital trading partner and sole security backer gives Xi leverage in his talks with Trump.
U.S. efforts to eliminate North Korea’s nuclear arsenal have made little progress since Trump and Kim agreed in their historic Singapore summit last year. In February, Trump rejected Kim’s offer to close some nuclear facilities in exchange for the elimination of the most severe United Nations sanctions on North Korea. The second Trump-Kim summit ended abruptly in Hanoi.
The South Korea government said in statement on Sunday it was aware of the letter and “sees the exchange of letters between the heads of North Korea and the U.S. as the two countries continuing the momentum of talks, and judges it positively.”