U.S. and North Korean officials are holding backdoor talks to arrange a third meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump, South Korea’s president told reporters on Tuesday.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Trumps and Kim’s “willingness to engage in dialogue has never faded” and that a recent letter exchange is evidence of their brightening relationship, according to an Associated Press report. Moon did not provide any details on whether U.S and North Korean officials had face-to-face meetings.
The White House did not immediately return an email seeking confirmation of the South Korean president’s disclosure.
Trump in April teased the idea of a third summit, writing online that a meeting “would be good,” and that “I agree with Kim Jong Un of North Korea that our personal relationship remains very good, perhaps the term excellent would be even more accurate, and that a third Summit would be good in that we fully understand where we each stand.”
There have not been public discussions between the two leaders since the breakdown of Trump and Kim’s second summit meeting, held in Hanoi, Vietnam, earlier this year. But U.S.-North Korea tensions have seemingly eased in recent weeks, marked by an exchange of letters between the two leaders. Kim touted a letter he received from Trump, praising its “excellent content,” though the content of the letter has not been made public. Trump called a letter from Kim “beautiful,” according to the Associated Press.
Trump and Kim have both described their personal relationship as positive, despite the deadlocked nuclear talks. Trump told reporters Tuesday “you know, at some point, we’ll do that,” responding to a question about another summit. “Getting along very well. He’s not doing nuclear testing,” he continued.
The recent letter is not the first piece of mail Kim has received from Trump. After the duo’s first summit, held last year in Singapore, to discuss the nuclear issue, the two leaders also exchanged letters to address their commitment, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at the time.
The president left the failed summit in Hanoi in February without reaching an agreement over North Korea’s growing nuclear arsenal, claiming the deal broke down over sanctions. “Basically, they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety,” Trump said in February. “They were willing to denuke a large portion of the areas that we wanted, but we couldn’t give up all of the sanctions for that.”