South Korea says it has sent a message from President Donald Trump to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wishing him a happy birthday, believed to be January 8.
TONG-HYUNG KIM Associated Press
January 10, 2020 at 9:31 am
2 min reading
Seoul, South Korea –
South Korea said on Friday it had sent a message from President Donald Trump to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, wishing him a happy birthday, believed to be January 8.
Returning from a visit to Washington on Friday, Chung Eui-yong, South Korea's presidential director of national security, told reporters that Trump had asked Seoul to deliver the message to Kim during a White House meeting this week.
Chung did not disclose what the message specifically said, but said Seoul sent it to Pyongyang on Thursday through "appropriate means."
Kim last week opened the new year expressing deep frustrations over stalled nuclear talks with the Trump administration and vowed to bolster his nuclear arsenal as a deterrent against "gang-like" US sanctions and pressure.
In recent months, the North has severely cut off all cooperation with the South, while demanding that Seoul move away from Washington and restart inter-Korean economic projects held back by US-led sanctions. But Korea still operates a liaison office in the North Korean border town of Kaesong.
Seoul had pushed hard for nuclear talks to resume, with Chung traveling between Pyongyang and Washington to help establish the first summit between Kim and Trump in June 2018.
But talks have failed since the collapse of Kim-Trump's second meeting last February, when the US rejected North Korean demands for major sanctions in exchange for a partial renunciation of its nuclear capabilities.
Trump and Kim met again in June and agreed to resume negotiations. But a working-level meeting in Sweden in October split over what the North Koreans described as the "old stance and attitude" of the Americans.
Despite the stalled negotiations, Trump and Kim described their personal relationship as good. Trump bragged about the "pretty" letters he received from Kim.
North Korea has never officially confirmed Kim's date of birth. While covering a 2014 visit to Dennis Rodman, North Korean state media said the former NBA star hosted a screening game on January 8 to commemorate Kim's birthday.