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Leaders of two Koreas exchange letters of hope amid tensions

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (AP) – The leaders of the rival Koreas exchanged letters expressing hope for improved bilateral relations, which plummeted in the past three years amid a freeze in nuclear negotiations and North Korea’s accelerating weapons development.

North Korea’s state media said leader Kim Jong-un on Wednesday received a personal letter from outgoing South Korean President Moon Jae-in and replied on Thursday with his own letter appreciating Moon’s peace efforts during his term. Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said yesterday their exchange of letters showed their “deep trust”.

Experts said North Korea’s announcement of the letters, which came as Kim possibly prepares for a nuclear test and other major provocations, is aimed at dividing public opinion in South Korea and discouraging Seoul’s new government from taking a hard line toward Pyongyang after its inauguration in May. KCNA said Moon told Kim he would continue to campaign for Korean reunification even after he leaves office next month, basing his efforts on their joint declarations for peace issued after their summit meetings in 2018.

Kim and Moon shared views that “inter-Korean relations would improve and develop as desired and anticipated by the (Korean) nation if the (North and the South) make tireless efforts with hope,” KCNA said.

File photo of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. PHOTO: AP
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