President Donald Trump on Thursday released a flattering letter he received from North Korea leader Kim Jong Un despite concerns that Kim is taking little action toward surrendering his nuclear arsenal.
“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 said in a translated letter tweeted by the president.
Trump added in his tweet: “A very nice note from Chairman Kim of North Korea. Great progress being made!“
The president’s upbeat portrayal of his relationship with Kim comes amid what experts are calling mounting evidence that North Korea has little intention of rolling back its nuclear and missile programs without major concessions from the U.S.
The two leaders met in a historic meeting in Singapore on June 12, where they struck an agreement to improve relations and “work towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
But numerous experts and former U.S. officials called that agreement extremely vague and expressed skepticism that Kim would deliver.
The letter to Trump was signed on July 6. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo left for North Korea on July 5 to continue talks about denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.
Most recently, North Korea officials Monday did not show up to a meeting with U.S. military officials on returning the remains of those who died in the Korean War, according to reports. The arrangement was announced following Pompeo‘s visit to Pyongyang last week.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement Thursday that a meeting had been rescheduled on July 15.
A report from The Wall Street Journal earlier this month also claimed that North Korea is expanding a facility to build solid-fuel ballistic missiles.
The Journal cited satellite imagery that showed the bulk of new construction on the facility in Hamhung, North Korea, took place between April and June.
Though Pompeo on Saturday had called the talks “productive,“ Pyongyang called the United States’ “unilateral and gangster-like demand for denuclearization” from North Korea “deeply regrettable.”
Kim’s letter, however, complimented Trump, referring to the president as “your excellency” five times.
“Wishing that the invariable trust and confidence in Your Excellency Mr. President will be further strengthened in the future process of taking practical actions, I extend my conviction that the epochal progress in promoting the DPRK-U.S. relations will bring our next meeting forward,” Kim concluded in his letter.
By REBECCA MORIN, Politico
First published by Politico
The 21st Century