North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said in a letter to South Korean President Moon Jae-in that he hopes for more peace talks between the two countries in 2019, Moon's office said Sunday, according to media reports.
The conciliatory mood has continued to grow ever since Kim extended a rare olive branch to South Korea in his New Year speech at the start of this year to express his willingness to improve inter-Korean relations.
Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un during a welcome parade when the pair met in Pyongyang, North Korea, earlier in 2018. It was the first time a member of the ruling Kim dynasty had visited the South since the 1950-1953 Korean War.
"[Chairman Kim] redefined his standpoint in actively carrying out agreements in the inter-Korean summit as well as the US-DPRK summit", Moon wrote, continuing, "I welcome chairman Kim's intentions to meet several times in the new year to find solution for denuclearization and to solve practical problems in achieving peace and prosperity".
At a summit with Trump in Singapore in June, Kim vowed to work toward denuclearization. With worldwide sanctions squeezing the country's trade flow and cash supply, any clues about the North Korean economy or Kim's growth strategies will be closely examined.
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The Blue House said that Kim expressed regret that he couldn't make a planned visit to Seoul, South Korea's capital, by the end of December, as pledged by the leaders during their last summit in September in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang.
This photo taken on August 10, 2015 and released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on August 11, 2015 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (from L) meeting Korth Korean women footballers upon their arrival at Pyongyang Airport after winning the 2015 EAFF East Asian Cup.
It was nearly exactly one year ago, in the wake of Kim's 2018 policy speech, that Trump threatened the North Korean dictator and said his nuclear button was "much bigger and more powerful".
South Korean President Moon Jae-in makes a toast with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a luncheon at Samjiyon Guesthouse in Ryanggang province, North Korea in September 2018.
Denuclearization talks, however, have been in a stalemate as Pyongyang wants sanctions relief for subsequent steps following the summit, while Washington is asking for more concrete measures before making major concessions.