June 24, 2019 / 4:11 PM / in 2 months

Trump says he sent North Korea's Kim friendly letter

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday he sent North Korean leader Kim Jong Un a “very friendly letter” in response to birthday greetings he received last week from Kim.

The exchange of letters comes as the two countries remain at odds over the future of North Korea’s nuclear program and before Trump leaves on Wednesday for an Asia trip that will include a stop in South Korea.

Trump said the letter he received last week from Kim contained a birthday greeting.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement overnight that “correspondence between the two leaders has been ongoing.”

Despite the tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions, Trump has maintained that he has a good relationship with Kim. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday he hoped a letter Trump sent to Kim could pave the way for a revival of stalled nuclear talks.

“North Korea has a phenomenal future,” Trump told reporters while he was discussing new sanctions measures on Iran.

Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and James Dalgleish

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