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(LEAD) Trump says he exchanged 'very friendly' letters with Kim

North Korea 02:05 June 25, 2019

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details from 4th para)

WASHINGTON, June 24 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump said Monday he exchanged "very friendly" letters with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Kim sent a letter to Trump earlier this month amid a deadlock in negotiations to dismantle the North's nuclear weapons program.

Trump responded with a letter "of excellent content," the North's state media said Sunday, raising hopes of a possible resumption of two-way talks.

"He actually sent me birthday wishes, but it was just a very friendly letter both ways," Trump told reporters at the Oval Office in the White House.

Trump, who turned 73 on June 14, revealed earlier that he had received a "beautiful" and "very warm" letter from Kim on June 10.

It was the first known correspondence between the leaders since their second summit in Vietnam in February ended without a deal.

The contents of the messages have not been disclosed, but the timing has prompted speculation that the two sides could be headed for a revival of talks on denuclearizing North Korea in exchange for sanctions relief.

Trump is set to travel to Japan and South Korea this weekend, first to attend a Group of 20 summit -- where he will sit down for talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the heels of the latter's state visit to Pyongyang last week -- and then to meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Seoul.

(LEAD) Trump says he exchanged 'very friendly' letters with Kim - 1

hague@yna.co.kr
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