(CBS) – President Trump said Saturday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wanted to hold another summit after the conclusion of joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises. The president also claimed that Kim included a “small apology” in a recent letter for testing of short-range missiles.
“In a letter to me sent by Kim Jong Un, he stated, very nicely, that he would like to meet and start negotiations as soon as the joint U.S./South Korea joint exercise are over. It was a long letter, much of it complaining about the ridiculous and expensive exercises,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter Saturday morning. The U.S. and South Korea have conducted joint military exercises for decades to prepare in case of a North Korean attack, and Mr. Trump has previously considered ending the exercises as a show of good faith to Kim.
“It was also a small apology for testing the short range missiles, and that this testing would stop when the exercises end. I look forward to seeing Kim Jong Un in the not too distant future! A nuclear free North Korea will lead to one of the most successful countries in the world!” Mr. Trump said.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Mr. Trump called the letter, which he said had been delivered on Thursday, “great” and “very personal.”
“He wasn’t happy with the test, the war games, the war games on the other side with the United States. And as you know I’ve never liked it either, I’ve never been a fan, and you know why? I don’t like paying for it, we should be reimbursed for it,” Mr. Trump told reporters as he left the White House for fundraisers in New York and a vacation at his New Jersey golf club.
Addressing North Korea’s recent short-range missile tests, Mr. Trump said: “There have been no nuclear tests. The missile tests have all been short range. No ballistic missile tests. No long-range missiles.”
A senior administration official said Friday evening that the White House was aware of another missile launch from North Korea and was “consulting closely with our Japanese and South Korean allies.” North Korea has launched short-range missiles at least four other times since July 25.
Kim and Mr. Trump have met three times, most recently in July, when he became the first sitting American president to set foot in North Korea. A summit in Vietnam in February ended abruptly after talks fell apart.