Trump: Kim apologised for missile tests

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ (AP) – United States President Donald Trump said on Saturday that North Korea’s Kim Jong-un wants to meet once again to “start negotiations” after joint US-South Korea military exercises end. He also said Kim apologised for the flurry of recent short-range missile tests that has rattled US allies in the region.

Trump is tweeting more details from the “beautiful” three-page letter he told reporters on Friday that he’d received from Kim. Trump, who is on vacation at his golf club in New Jersey, said Kim spent much of his letter complaining about “the ridiculous and expensive exercises,” which North Korea sees as a threat.

He said Kim offered him “a small apology” for the recent tests and assured him “that this testing would stop when the exercises end.”

North Korea on Saturday fired what appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea, according to South Korea’s military – the fifth round of launches in less than three weeks.

“I look forward to seeing Kim Jong-un in the not too distant future!” Trump wrote.

File photo shows people watching a television news screen showing file footage of a meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. – AFP

The two leaders have met three times – in Singapore, Hanoi and at the Korean Demilitarized Zone – but critics say Trump has received few concessions in the standoff over North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme in exchange for the meetings.

At their second summit in Vietnam in February, Trump rejected Kim’s demand for widespread sanctions relief in exchange for dismantling the North’s main nuclear complex, a partial disarmament step.

The US and South Korea have scaled down their major military exercises since Trump and Kim’s first summit in June 2018.

But the North insists even the downsized drills violate agreements between Kim and Trump and compel it to “develop, test and deploy the powerful physical means essential for national defence.”