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Kim Jong-un invited Trump to Pyongyang last August—exec

/ 06:09 PM September 17, 2019

SEOUL — North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has asked US President Donald Trump for a third summit and invited him to Pyongyang in a letter sent in August.

“I heard a detailed explanation from the US that such a letter was (delivered),” Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha told members of the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee.

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Asked by a lawmaker whether the US-North Korea summit was proposed to be held in Pyongyang or a summit proposal and an invitation to the regime’s capital city were separately made, Kang declined to disclose further details.

“We are not in a position to confirm what the letter contains or when it was delivered.”

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After the session ended, the Foreign Ministry specified that the letter mentioned by Kang was the one whose content Trump revealed via Twitter on Aug. 10.

Trump said the North Korean leader stated that he would like to start negotiations as soon as South Korea-US joint military exercises ended. The annual drills wrapped up on Aug. 20.

Until North’s Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui said last week that the country was willing to meet with the US in late September to restart talks, uncertainty had mounted for two months with Pyongyang showing no significant signs of returning to the negotiating table. After Trump and Kim met at the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea in late June, the US said working-level talks would resume by mid-July.

Following Choe’s announcement, Trump said that he expects to meet Kim at some point this year.

In February, Trump and Kim met in Hanoi, Vietnam but failed to sign an agreement. Critics pointed out that they rashly jumped into the summit without holding working-level discussions on the specifics on the process and method of denuclearization.

Kang downplayed the possibility that Trump-Kim summit would take place ahead of lower-level dialogue.

“Working-level officials of the US and North Korea should meet for some time to have initial discussions on the result of the (Hanoi) summit for the sake of the success of US-North Korea summit,” Kang said.

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Asked about the possibility of Kim attending the United Nations General Assembly, which will be held in New York from Sunday to Thursday, Kang said she “can’t completely rule out the possibility but signs for such a move have not been seen at all.”

In a report to the National Assembly, the ministry also said that it would maintain close coordination with Washington through bilateral consultations, including at the UN General Assembly.

“(The ministry) will concentrate its diplomatic capacity on ensuring that the working-level negotiations will promptly resume, and that they will lead to substantive progress in the efforts for complete denuclearization and the establishment of permanent peace,” the ministry said.

Earlier in the day, a local daily reported citing unnamed diplomatic sources that Kim’s letter, containing an invitation to Pyongyang, was delivered to Trump in the third week of August, separately from the one Trump unveiled earlier in the month.

The Foreign Ministry said nothing has been confirmed about the letter reported by the paper.

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TAGS: Asia, Diplomacy, Donald Trump, Kim Jong-Un, North korea, Politics, South korea, US
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