A new summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may happen following the recent exchange of letters between the two leaders.
Pyongyang-based Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on June 23 that President Trump sent a personal letter to Kim, and the North Korea leader “said with satisfaction that the letter is of excellent content” after reading it.
“Appreciating the political judging faculty and extraordinary courage of President Trump, Kim Jong Un said that he would seriously contemplate the interesting content,” a North Korean official mouthpiece wrote in a short report.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed last weekend that “the letter was in fact sent” from President Trump to Kim.
According to the Seoul-based Korea Herald, President Trump was presumably replying to Kim’s June 11 letter that the U.S. president described as “beautiful and warm” one. President Trump, at the time, said he expected “something very positive will happen.”
In an interview with Time last Monday, President Trump also revealed he received a birthday letter “written by Kim Jong Un” that was delivered by hand the day before.
The exchange of letters between the U.S. and North Korean leaders signals the resumption that denuclearization talks may be on the way.
President Trump and Kim have so far held two summits, with the first one in June 2018 in Singapore and the second one in February 2019 in Vietnam. Despite no deal signed, these high-level meetings themselves are considered success for both, especially for President Trump as tensions between the two rivals began to de-escalate. North Korea has not conducted any big nuclear or ballistic missile tests since then.
However, a prolonged conflict cannot be solved with a pair of dialogues. With the latest summit organized in Hanoi, President Trump may want Kim to see Vietnam as an example of economic success before they could meet for a third talk, at which Trump could have better bargaining leverage to reach a deal in exchange for denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.
And timing for the third summit may be designed to take place before the 2020 election, which would benefit President Trump’s re-election bid.
In a related move, some Japanese media reported that President Trump is likely to visit the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between South and North Korea after attending the G-20 summit in Japan later this week.
Washington is fine-tuning the president’s schedule with Seoul. President Trump attempted to visit the zone in 2017 with South Korean President Moon Jae-in but canceled due to weather conditions.