SEOUL: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un expressed “great satisfaction” after receiving a letter from US President Donald Trump ahead of a second summit between the two, Pyongyang’s state media reported Thursday.
Kim was handed the letter by a North Korean envoy who met Trump at the White House last week and gave him a missive of his own.
Trump’s meeting with Kim Yong Chol came with negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington on the North’s nuclear arsenal deadlocked.
After their discussion, Trump said his next summit with the North Korean leader will probably take place near the end of February, without giving an exact date or location.
Kim Jong Un “expressed great satisfaction” after receiving Trump’s “good personal letter”, the official Korea Central New Agency reported.
It carried a picture of a broadly smiling Kim holding what appeared to be the letter from Trump and sitting in a plush brown leather armchair in his office with Kim Yong Chol.
“We will believe in the positive way of thinking of President Trump (and) wait with patience and in good faith,“ KCNA cited Kim as saying.
He ordered preparations to be made for the second summit, KCNA reported, in the North’s first official comment on the prospective meeting.
Kim and Trump’s first encounter was a high-profile summit in Singapore in June – the first ever meeting between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader.
There they signed a vaguely-worded document in which Kim pledged to work towards “the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula”.
But progress has since stalled with the two sides disagreeing over what that means.
Pyongyang is seeking sanctions relief and rejects demands for what it calls its “unilateral” disarmament, while Washington insists that the measures must stay in place until the North gives up its nuclear arsenal.
Even so on Saturday, Trump said a location for the summit had been decided, without giving more details.
A Vietnamese government source told AFP “logistical preparations” were under way to host the encounter, most likely in the capital Hanoi or the coastal city of Danang.
Analysts say a second summit has to make tangible progress on the issue of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons if it is to avoid being dismissed as “reality TV”. — AFP