World News

Trump Cites ‘Great Progress’ in North Korea Nuclear Talks

Posted July 12, 2018 2:31 p.m. EDT

LONDON — President Donald Trump said Thursday that he was making “great progress” in denuclearization talks with North Korea, citing what he called a “very nice note” he received last week from Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader, though it made no mention of nuclear weapons.

In a letter that Trump posted on Twitter along with an English translation, Kim called his summit with the president in Singapore last month “the start of a meaningful journey,” and raised the idea of another such encounter.

“I extend my conviction that the epochal progress in promoting the DPRK-U.S. relations will bring our next meeting forward,” he wrote, using the initials for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, North Korea’s official name.

The tone of the letter was starkly at odds with that of North Korean officials last week in the wake of a visit to Pyongyang, the North’s capital, by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Pompeo has toiled, so far unsuccessfully, to hammer out details of the agreement in principle struck by Trump and Kim to rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons. After his visit, the North said Pompeo had engaged in “gangster-like” tactics and made unilateral demands.

“We had a productive conversation,” Pompeo told reporters in Brussels earlier Thursday when he was called to the lectern by Trump to expound on his efforts in Pyongyang. “There remains a great deal of work to do.”

The letter released by Trump is filled with flowery language, but it makes no mention of nuclear weapons or any intention by the North to give them up.

“I deeply appreciate the energetic and extraordinary efforts made by Your Excellency Mr. President for the improvement of relations between the two countries and the faithful implementation of the joint statement,” it said.