By Makini Brice
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump cosied up anew to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday, praising a “beautiful” letter he received from Kim and appearing to take a public stance against the CIA spying on him.
Trump told reporters at the White House, “I think that something will happen that’s going to be very positive,” but gave no details.
Washington is seeking to rebuild momentum in stalled talks with Pyongyang, aimed at getting North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons programme. Trump and Kim last met early this year in Hanoi but failed to reach a denuclearisation agreement.
Trump spoke a day after the Wall Street Journal reported that Kim’s slain half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, was a source for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Kim Jong Nam was killed at the airport in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 2017.
“I did receive a beautiful letter from Kim Jong Un … I appreciated the letter,” Trump said. “I saw the information about the CIA with respect to his brother, or half-brother. And I would tell him that would not happen under my auspices.”
Trump, who has described previous correspondence from Kim as “beautiful letters,” said the most recent one was a “very warm, very nice letter.” He repeated that he believes North Korea has “tremendous potential.”
After exchanging insults and war-like rhetoric with Kim early in his presidency, Trump in the past year has repeatedly praised him. They have held two summits as Trump tries to convert what he feels is a warm personal relationship into a diplomatic breakthrough.
Trump did not rule out another meeting with Kim. He is due to travel to Japan and South Korea later this month.
Trump said Kim had thus far kept his promises not to test long-range ballistic missiles or conduct underground nuclear tests.
“He’s kept his word to me. That’s very important,” said Trump.
In May, North Korea conducted a “strike drill” for multiple launchers, firing tactical guided weapons in a military drill supervised by Kim.
Trump said at the time that those launches did not pose a problem in his eyes, although his advisers called them a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.
(Reporting by Makini Brice; Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Bill Trott)