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(EDITORIAL from Korea Times on June 14)

All News 07:10 June 14, 2019

Glimpse of hope
: Kim's letter to Trump is positive sign for renewing talks

It has already been a year since the historic first U.S-North Korea summit in Singapore on June 12, 2018.

U.S. President Donald Trump revealed recently that he had received a letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Trump touted the letter, which coincides with the first anniversary of their summit, as very "personal and warm," and underlined that his relationship with Kim was very good.

The letter can be seen as a sign that the North Korean leader is still committed to continuing talks with the U.S. leader, despite the huge embarrassment following the sudden collapse of their last summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, in February. The two leaders walked away from that summit without producing any concrete agreement on how to proceed with the North's denuclearization.

Details of the letter were not disclosed. But given that a similar missive from Kim to Trump preceded the two previous summits, it is possible the letter could be an impetus for the two sides to resume working-level talks that would eventually lead to another summit between the two. It is also a positive sign that Trump has continued to express his trust in the North Korean leader despite the latest series of military provocations by the North.

There was some hopeful development regarding inter-Korean relations as well, which brightened prospects for further talks between the two Koreas. The death of former first lady Lee Hee-ho, wife of the late former President Kim Dae-jung and the architect of the "Sunshine Policy" of engagement toward North Korea, provided an occasion for the two Koreas to communicate. The Ministry of Unification notified Pyongyang of her death and Kim sent his sister and close aide Kim Yo-jong to Panmunjeom to deliver flowers and his message of condolence. Some South Koreans feel that Kim's gesture was insufficient, given that Lee had personally visited Pyongyang to pay her respects when his father, former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, died in 2011. Pyongyang should have sent an official delegation to pay condolences to Lee, who had committed herself to peace-making efforts between the two Koreas.

The North Korean leader's sister was received by Chung Eui-yong, chief of the National Security Office, Vice Unification Minister Suh-ho and Rep. Park Jie-won of the Party for Party for Democracy and Peace, who served as chief of staff for the late President Kim. Chung should not have attended as it makes it look like the South is too desperate. Cheong Wa Dae said Kim's sister did not bring any message other than condolences for the late Lee.

In Oslo, Norway, this week, Moon said he hopes to meet with the North Korean leader within this month before he meets with Trump, who is expected to visit Korea at the end of June. Kim should respond positively to Moon's offer of a meeting, which could also expedite the resumption of talks with the U.S.

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