Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

Trump hails 'great progress' after receiving letter from North Korea's Kim

Ray Hunter | 13 July, 2018, 05:00

US President Donald Trump said he received a note from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in which Mr Kim said he believed their efforts to improve relations will succeed.

Trump described the letter as a "very nice note" and said, "Great progress being made!"

"I extend my conviction that the epochal progress in promoting the DPRK-US relations will bring our next meeting forward".

In it, Mr Kim says: "I deeply appreciate the energetic and extraordinary efforts made by Your Excellency Mr President".

In the meeting at the Korean Peninsula's demilitarized zone, the two sides had been expected to discuss the return of USA troops' remains from the 1950-53 Korean War - an arrangement that the State Department had announced after Secretary Michael R. Pompeo's visit to Pyongyang last weekend.

If realized, they will be the first general-level military talks between North Korea and the UNC since March 2009.

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

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.

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He also agreed to repatriate remains of United States troops who died during the Korean War six decades ago.

The UNC told the US defense ministry about North Korea's proposal and is waiting for Washington's answer, the source added.

Representatives of the two countries had been poised to meet in Panmunjom, which is regarded as the truce village on the inter-Korean border.

US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said North Korea has now offered to meet the delegation on Sunday. Roughly 5,300 U.S. troops presumed to have been killed in the Korean war are unaccounted for.

The South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, also downplayed the North Koreans' antics, stating it was all part of Pyongyang's "strategy" toward extracting more concessions from the United States.

Earlier Thursday, after attending the NATO summit in Brussels, he told reporters that there were clear signs of progress with North Korea, most notably that no missile and nuclear tests have occurred for nearly nine months.

Trump himself has remained upbeat about the outcome of the first summit between the leaders of the US and North Korea.

Following the North Koreans' no-show at Thursday's meeting, the U.S. state department said the two delegations had agreed to meet on 15 July.

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