March 12, 2018 12:24
National Security Council chief Chung Eui-yong delivered a letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to U.S. President Donald Trump when he met him last Thursday, but since nobody knows what it says it has become a matter for lively speculation.
A senior government official told reporters in Washington Kim "prepared a special message to be delivered to President Trump, but we cannot reveal details since it was exchanged by heads of state."
The official added that the message was "part of confidence-building measures necessary to realize a summit" and added it was "very comprehensive" about denuclearization.
North Korea already told a visiting South Korean delegation that it would halt nuclear tests and missile launches while dialogue continues. But perhaps Kim made a more far-reaching offer.
There is also a possibility that Kim offered to release three U.S. citizens held captive in North Korea. The U.S. has been negotiating their release through the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang, and North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho is set to visit Stockholm soon, adding more weight to this possibility.
North Korea apparently wants to ease the negative impact of the death of American student Otto Warmbier, who was returned to the U.S. in a coma in June last year after 17 months in detention and died six days later.
One diplomatic source said, "Until now, North Korea has insisted on the withdrawal of U.S. troops in South Korea as a precondition to a peace treaty, but the North may have reduced that to a U.S. troop reduction."
Other concessions Kim made to the visiting South Koreans included that he will not object to South Korea-U.S. exercises if they are on a similar level to previous years, i.e., not massively ramped up.
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