Fri, 16 Nov 2018
28
Singapore

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sent a letter requesting a second meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, the White House said Monday.

The letter was "very warm, very positive," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters during a briefing. Sanders held up the letter as an example of thawing relations between Washington and Pyongyang in ongoing talks to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

The Trump administration has recently been highlighting various accomplishments, such as the release of U.S. prisoners and the repatriation of the remains of American soldiers, to argue that they have made progress with the hermit kingdom since Trump met Kim in Singapore last June.

Sunday on Twitter, Trump praised a parade in Pyongyang that had no missiles on display.

In contrast to the White House, many observers have noted a chill in relations between the two countries. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo canceled a planned trip to Pyongyang last month after negotiations stalled.

Rand Corporation defense analyst Bruce Bennet told VOA News that North Korea's nuclear program is very much alive.

"North Korea does a great job of denying us information," Bennet said. "What we can tell is that the facilities that would be involved with creating nuclear materials and then potentially weaponizing it seem to be very active."

Bennet added that North Korea has no intention of compromising with the U.S. and is likely stalling so it can build more weapons.

"The North Korean objective appears to be to have something like 50 ICBMs (Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles) and nuclear weapons to go on top of them, so that in the future, they can coerce the United States and do pretty much what they want to, without the U..S being willing to take action against them," Bennet said.

VOA's Ira Mellman contributed to this report.

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