The White House on Thursday said there were no future meetings planned with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un but that President Donald Trump was open to another sitdown.
Earlier on Thursday Trump tweeted his gratitude to Kim for sending home remains of soldiers from the 1950-1953 Korean War, saying “I am not at all surprised that you took this kind action. Also, thank you for your nice letter - I look forward to seeing you soon!”
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told a regularly scheduled briefing that “there is not a second meeting that is currently locked in or finalized,” Trump is “certainly open to that discussion. She added that Trump would shortly send respond to Kim’s letter, which he received on Wednesday.
Earlier, the White House said that President rump received a new letter from Kim Jong Un following up on their Singapore summit. The correspondence came amid fresh concerns over Pyongyang
s commitment to denuclearization.
Trump tweeted early on Thursday his thanks to the North Korean leader “for your nice letter - I look forward to seeing you soon!”
The White House did not provide details on the specific content of the letter, which was received on Wednesday. Sanders said the correspondence was “aimed at following up on their meeting in Singapore and advancing the commitments made in the US-DPRK joint statement.”
A second meeting between Trump and Kim has not been planned at this time, according to a person familiar with the process. The person was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity to describe internal planning.
Trump in his tweet expressed gratitude to Kim “for keeping your word” on the return of the remains of more than 50 Americans service members killed during the Korean War. Vice President Mike Pence and US military leaders received the remains in Hawaii during a somber ceremony on Wednesday.
The latest letter from Kim arrived on the heels of concerns over North Korea’s ballistic missile program and commitment to denuclearization. Senior Trump administration officials have urged patience, cautioning that the process of denuclearizing North Korea and removing the threat of its long-range missiles will take time.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was headed to an Asian security meeting in Singapore, where a meeting this weekend with North Korea’s foreign minister was possible.
Trump has sought to show progress from his June 12 summit with Kim in Singapore. He said during a Tuesday rally in Tampa, Florida, that the US was “doing well” with North Korea and noted the return of detained Americans and Pyongyang’s ceasing of nuclear testing or missile tests. “A lot of good things are happening. No tests. No rockets flying. But we’ll see what happens,” Trump said.
US officials have been closely watching North Korea’s willingness to abandon its nuclear ambitions.
The Washington Post on Tuesday reported that US intelligence officials suspect that North Korea is continuing to build new missiles in the same research facility that manufactured the country’s ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States.
The Post also reported that North Korean officials have talked about how they plan to deceive the US about the size of their arsenal of missiles and nuclear warheads and facilities.