The White House has confirmed that President Trump wrote a letter to North Korea leader Kim Jong-un ahead of their second summit, CNN is reporting.
Kim Yong-chol -- a representative of North Korea and one of the lead negotiators on nuclear talks -- was in Washington last week to visit with Trump. Trump and Yong-chol ended up spending 90 minutes in the Oval Office, discussing nuclear weapons and the upcoming summit. Yong-chol passed on a letter to Trump from Kim Jong-un, and Trump then wrote a letter in response for Yong-chol to deliver to Kim. North Korean state media confirmed that Yong-chol was the one to pass on the message to Kim, and it was reported to be a "good personal letter."
Trump and Kim first met last June for a summit in Singapore, where the two were said to have set a goal to "work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula." Trump went on to announce that North Korea was no longer considered a threat to the United States, but critics claim there has been a lack of any actual verifiable evidence that the country was intending to put an end to their nuclear weapons program.
The Trump administration came under fire for not getting Pyongyang to agree to specifics during their meeting. Critics theorize that Kim only wants to meet with Trump because North Korea feels that the U.S. president will give preferential treatment to the leader upon seeing him in person -- as opposed to negotiating with envoys like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo or Steve Biegun, the U.S. special representative to North Korea.White House press secretary Sarah Sanders was questioned by reporters last week on whether Trump was committed to actually moving forward and reaching agreements with Kim this time around.
"We've continued to make progress," Sanders said. "We're continuing to have conversations. The U.S. is going to continue to keep pressure and sanctions on North Korea until we see fully and verified denuclearization. We've had very good steps in good faith from the North Koreans in releasing the hostages and other moves so we're going to continue those conversations."
According to USA Today, Kim has indeed ordered preparations for a second summit with Trump. The North Korean leader is reportedly ready to "wait with patience and in good faith and together with the U.S. advance step by step toward the goal to be reached by the two countries." The two men are set to meet up sometime near the end of February.