(2nd LD) N.K. leader exchanges letters with President Moon: state media
(ATTN: UPDATES with Cheong Wa Dae's response, other details from 7th para)
By Chae Yun-hwan
SEOUL, April 22 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has exchanged letters with South Korea's outgoing President Moon Jae-in earlier this week in an "expression of their deep trust," state media reported Friday.
Kim received a "personal" letter from the South Korean president Wednesday and sent a reply letter the next day, according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
"Sharing the same view that the inter-Korean relations would improve and develop as desired and anticipated by the nation if the North and the South make tireless efforts with hope, the top leaders mutually extended warm greetings to the compatriots in the North and the South," it said in an English-language report.
In his letter, Moon expressed his intention of supporting efforts to make the joint declarations issued by the two Koreas the foundation for reunification even after his retirement, as Kim appreciated what the president has done for the "great cause of the nation," according to the KCNA.
Moon's five-year term is set to end May 9.
"The exchange of the personal letters between the top leaders of the North and the South is an expression of their deep trust," it added.
Moon and Kim held three rounds of bilateral summit talks. They first met at the truce border village of Panmunjom in April 2018, where they signed the "Panmunjom Declaration" that calls for the two Koreas to cooperate in reducing tensions.
The two met again at Panmunjom the following month, followed by talks in Pyongyang in September, during which they signed another agreement to explore ways to further advance cooperation.
Inter-Korean dialogue, however, has remained at a standstill since the 2019 Hanoi summit between Kim and then U.S. President Donald Trump ended without a deal.
Shortly after the KCNA's report, Moon's office confirmed that the two leaders had exchanged letters.
The announcement came as the North has carried out a string of missile tests over the past several weeks amid reports of the possibility of a nuclear test. It was not immediately confirmed if in his letter Moon requested the North halt such a tension-escalating act.
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