North Korean leader Kim Jong-un exchanged warm words with outgoing South Korean President Moon Jae-in less than three weeks before Moon’s term ends in May.
North Korean state media outlet KCNA reported there was an “expression of their deep trust” between the two leaders which came in the form of an exchange of letters this week.
The report indicated that Moon sent Kim a letter on Wednesday, promising that he will continue attempts to pursue the unification they previously declared through several inter-Korean summits held in 2018.
Efforts have stalled since then, and tensions in the peninsular region have persisted long after the failed North Korea-U.S. summit in 2019, in which an agreement on the removal of sanctions went unreached. North Korea also ended its self-imposed 2017 moratorium last month after launching an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that landed near Japan’s western coast.
Moon’s office confirmed that he exchanged “letters of friendship” with the North Korean leader. Kim responded to Moon’s letter on Thursday, noting that he “appreciated the pains and effort taken by Moon Jae-in for the great cause of the nation until the last days of his term of office.” Kim also said their “historic” summits gave citizens “hope for the future.”
Yoon Suk-yeol of the conservative People Power Party (PPP) is set to take office as South Korea’s president on May 10. He has previously indicated that while he is open to the resumption of dialogue, he intends to implement military deterrence and a stronger alliance with the U.S.
South Korean politician and diplomat Kwon Young-se finds the exchange between Kim and Moon a “good thing.”
“There was some content that the new government would want to hear,” Kwon was quoted as saying. “It was very positive that he does not negatively see trust and progress in relations.”