Kim hopes for 'improvement of relations' with United States in letter to Trump

Kim hopes for 'improvement of relations' with United States in letter to Trump

Kim hopes for 'improvement of relations' with United States in letter to Trump

The repatriation of the remains of US soldiers from North Korea has been a major issue between Washington and Pyongyang since the end of the Korean War, when thousands of Americans were left in Korea either missing in action or as prisoners of war.

The talks had been expected in the demilitarised zone on Thursday.

According to estimates from the Pentagon, 7,700 US troops are still unaccounted for from the Korean War.

There are about 7,700 USA soldiers classified as missing in action from the war.

President Donald Trump has tweeted a letter him from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un heralding "epochal progress" in US-North Korea relations.

Trump shared the letter in a tweet Thursday, writing, "A very nice note from Chairman Kim of North Korea".

Pompeo did not meet Kim as he had on his previous two trips to Pyongyang this year, and after his departure, the North's foreign ministry accused the United States of making "gangster-like" demands that it unilaterally give up its nuclear weapons.

While Pompeo said those talks were making progress, North Korea angrily accused Washington of making "gangster-like" demands for quick denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said North Korea made contact on Thursday and offered to meet on Sunday instead.

In December, the UN Security Council limited such exports to North Korea to 500,000 barrels a year.

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It had been expected at the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjom. The U.S. also risks giving the North Koreans leverage to continue diplomacy and drag out disarmament talks.

Returning the remains of the troops was part of the deal signed by Kim and Trump in Singapore.

Trump told a crowd of supporters a week later that the remains of 200 Americans "have been sent back".

The US military has since announced that 100 wooden coffins have been moved to the inter-Korean border in preparation.

"The decision to praise the letter seems more concerned with politics and pride than substantive progress with North Korea", said Adam Mount, a senior fellow and director of the Defense Posture Project at the Federation of American Scientists, where he covers North Korea.

"We were ready", one official said.

North Korea proposed to reschedule the meeting for Sunday.

President Trump met with North Korean Dictator 26 days ago.

The Defense Department estimates there are up to 5,300 sets of US service member remains still somewhere in North Korea.

The North's state media normally lead their television bulletins and front pages with Kim's doings, but a seven-day absence from the headlines, including during Pompeo's visit, had prompted speculation on his whereabouts among Korea-watchers. It does not, however, give any mention to the end of North Korea's nuclear program, nor the end of the country's regular human rights abuses.

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