Kim Jong Un reaffirms commitment to denuclearization in letter to South Korean president

PHOTO: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during a joint press conference with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the Paekhwawon State Guesthouse in Pyongyang, North Korea, Sept. 19, 2018.PlayPyongyang Press Corps Pool via AP, FILE
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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his commitment to denuclearization in a letter sent to South Korean President Moon Jae-in over the weekend. The move raises hopes for a positive message in his annual New Year’s Day policy speech to be delivered on North Korea’s state television.

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The two-page letter, stamped with Kim’s signature golden logo, arrived on Sunday addressed to “Revered President Moon Jae-in.” Only the first sentence was released to the public.

“Chairman Kim Jong Un emphasized the bold step the two Korean leaders have taken to overcome the long-pending confrontation between North and South to meet three times in one year alone,” read the letter, according to Kim Eui-kyeom, spokesman for the South’s presidential office.

PHOTO: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during a joint press conference with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the Paekhwawon State Guesthouse in Pyongyang, North Korea, Sept. 19, 2018.Pyongyang Press Corps Pool via AP, FILE
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during a joint press conference with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the Paekhwawon State Guesthouse in Pyongyang, North Korea, Sept. 19, 2018.

Moon posted a response on Facebook, saying he “welcome[s] chairman Kim's intentions” to hold further talks.

“[Chairman Kim] redefined his standpoint in actively carrying out agreements in the inter-Korean summit as well as the US-DPRK summit,” Moon wrote, continuing, “I welcome chairman Kim’s intentions to meet several times in the new year to find solution for denuclearization and to solve practical problems in achieving peace and prosperity.”

Moon added that he witnessed a sense of frustration over Kim not having been able to visit Seoul, which the two leaders agreed to during the third inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang this September.

President Donald Trump has also expressed a willingness to meet for a second time with Kim in 2019. He also reiterated in mid-December that he wasn't concerned over criticism about the lack of progress in denuclearization since the two leaders met in Singapore and signed an agreement on June 12.

It was almost exactly one year ago, in the wake of Kim's 2018 policy speech, that Trump threatened the North Korean dictator and said his nuclear button was "much bigger and more powerful."

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