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U.S. likely sent two congratulatory messages on Kim’s birthday

U.S. likely sent two congratulatory messages on Kim’s birthday

Posted January. 13, 2020 07:36,   

Updated January. 13, 2020 07:36


“We already received the U.S. President’s personal letter directly.” In his statement issued Saturday, Kim Kye Gwan, advisor to North Korea’s foreign ministry, made these remarks on U.S. President Donald Trump’s congratulatory message on its leader Kim Jong Un’s birthday. South Korea’s National Security Office chief Chung Eui-yong announced that he had received President Trump’s congratulatory message during his visit to Washington and that South Korea thereby conveyed it to the North. Against this, Pyongyang said that it received the message directly, effectively denying the South Korean presidential office’s announcement.

According to multiple sources in the South Korean government, Pyongyang is believed to have received two congratulatory messages on Kim’s birthday, just as Kim Kye Gwan claimed. “One message was sent through the U.S.-North Korea line, and the other one, which Chung received from President Trump during his visit to Washington, was conveyed through the South Korea-North Korea line,” a ranking Seoul official said.

The South Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae had welcomed President Trump’s message to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. In the press conference upon completing his U.S. visit, Chung revealed President Trump’s congratulatory message for the first time. Amid stalled U.S.-North talks, Cheong Wa Dae must have had expectation toward “top-down” talks between Trump and Kim

Sang-Jun Han alwaysj@donga.com