Kim Jong Un Optimistic on Denuclearization After Letter From Trump

January 24, 2019 Updated: January 24, 2019

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un praised President Donald Trump and was upbeat about denuclearization Jan. 24 after receiving a letter from Trump via envoys who traveled to Washington days earlier.

During meetings in Washington, U.S. officials and the North Korean envoys agreed to a second summit between Trump and Kim in late February. Kim expressed “great satisfaction” after receiving Trump’s letter and said Pyongyang “will believe in the positive way of thinking of President Trump,” according to North Korea’s state news agency, KCNA.

Kim said he would trust Trump’s approach and work toward denuclearization—a goal the two leaders agreed to in a signed statement at their first summit in Singapore last year.

“Kim Jong Un said that we will believe in President Trump’s positive way of thinking, wait with patience and in good faith and, together with the United States, advance step by step toward the goal to be reached by the two countries,” KCNA said.

Kim said he was greatly satisfied with the briefing he received from the envoys and ordered preparations for the summit. The White House said the summit would be held in late February, but did not reveal the location.

Vietnam, a nation rumored as the potential host for the summit, has not been informed about any time or venue for a possible second summit but is confident in its ability to host such a meeting, a spokesperson said Jan. 24.

Hanoi is preparing to receive Kim for a state visit, two sources told Reuters on Jan. 17, while officials and diplomats said Vietnam was keen to host a second summit between Kim and Trump.

“It is up to the United States and North Korea to decide on the location and the timing of the summit,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang told a regular news conference on Jan. 24.

At the historic summit in June last year, Trump and Kim signed an agreement committing to work toward peace and complete denuclearization. Pyongyang has not tested any missiles or nuclear weapons since.

Kim has indicated to South Korean President Moon Jae-in he would undertake a “groundbreaking” denuclearization measure, South Korean newspaper DongA Ilbo reported Jan. 24.

The newspaper, citing an unidentified source with direct knowledge of the U.S.–North Korea situation, said the same had been made clear to Trump during senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol’s Washington visit last week.

North Korea has hinted, for example, at the possibility of agreeing to the U.S. demand for verification of denuclearization efforts before it shuts down its Yongbyon nuclear facilities.

In turn, the United States has mentioned potential measures such as easing limits on oil imports, a conditional restart of the Kaesong industrial zone in North Korea, and opening a liaison office in Pyongyang, DongA Ilbo reported.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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