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(LEAD) Trump receives letter from N.K. leader: White House

All Headlines 00:24 August 03, 2018

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with details; ADDS photo)

WASHINGTON, Aug. 2 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump received a letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un this week, the White House said Thursday, in the latest sign of top-level diplomacy on Pyongyang's denuclearization.

"A letter to President Trump from Chairman Kim was received on August 1," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. "The ongoing correspondence between the two leaders is aimed at following up on their meeting in Singapore and advancing the commitments made in the US-DPRK joint statement."

Sanders did not provide details on the content of the message.

Trump mentioned the letter in a tweet earlier Thursday as he thanked Kim for returning the remains of presumed American soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War.

Fifty-five cases of remains were airlifted from North Korea to South Korea last week and honored in a solemn ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii Wednesday.

The repatriation was part of an agreement Trump and Kim reached at their historic summit in Singapore in June.

"Thank you to Chairman Kim Jong Un for keeping your word & starting the process of sending home the remains of our great and beloved missing fallen!" Trump wrote in the tweet. "I am not at all surprised that you took this kind action. Also, thank you for your nice letter -- l look forward to seeing you soon!"

While it is hoped that the repatriation will give momentum to the implementation of the key element of the deal -- the dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear weapons program -- progress toward securing firm commitments in that regard from Pyongyang has reportedly been slow.

Last Friday -- the day North Korea returned the remains -- coincided with the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice Agreement, which ended fighting in the war. Pyongyang has called for a formal declaration to end the war, viewing it as a guarantee of its security in exchange for denuclearization.

At the summit, Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the regime.

This AP file photo shows U.S. President Donald Trump. (Yonhap)

hague@yna.co.kr
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