By Hyonhee Shin
SEOUL (Reuters) – Donald Trump wants North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to know that he likes him and will fulfil his wishes, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said on Sunday, a day after meeting the U.S. president at an economic summit in Argentina.
Moon, who is hoping to host Kim soon on the first ever trip to Seoul by a North Korean leader as agreed earlier this year, said Trump had asked him to pass on a message.
“The message is that President Trump has very favourable views toward Chairman Kim and he likes him,” Moon told reporters aboard a flight from Argentina to New Zealand, where he started a three-day state visit on Sunday.
“As such, he asked me to tell Chairman Kim that he wants to implement the rest of their agreement together and he will fulfil Chairman Kim’s wishes.”
Trump, who met Kim in Singapore in June, said on Saturday that he is likely to meet the North Korean leader for a second time in January or February, with three sites for their meeting under consideration.
“We’re getting along very well. We have a good relationship,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One on his return from the G20 summit. Trump added that at some point he will invite Kim to the United States.
Kim and Trump pledged at their first meeting to work towards denuclearisation, although the two sides have since made little progress agreeing on a timeline or concrete steps.
The White House said in a statement on Saturday after Trump’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping that they and Kim will strive “to see a nuclear free Korean Peninsula”. The statement said Xi and Trump “agreed that great progress has been made with respect to North Korea.”
Trump has frequently described a warm personal relationship with Kim, arguing that this rapport would help him succeed at a diplomatic breakthrough that has eluded U.S. presidents since the 1950s.
In September Trump drew applause from a crowd of supporters at a campaign rally by describing “beautiful” letters he had exchanged with Kim, saying: “We fell in love, ok?”
Trump’s critics say such warm words have so far failed to yield concrete concessions from one of the world’s most authoritarian states.
Trump’s latest praise for Kim, in the formal setting of a summit with Moon, shows that he is still emphasising his personal rapport despite stalled nuclear talks.
Moon said a second summit between Kim and Trump will prove to be the “most critical moment” for North Korea’s denuclearisation.
(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; Editing by Peter Graff)