KIM SPEAKS: Kim Jong Un Praises 'EXTRAORDINARY' Trump in New Letter

Cheryl Sanders
July 12, 2018

North Korean officials skipped planned talks on repatriating the remains of American war dead Thursday in the latest snub of a USA administration eager to show progress on efforts to rid the communist state of nuclear weapons.

On Monday Trump reiterated his confidence in Kim.

Pompeo traveled to the North last week to try to iron out the details amid criticism that the US administration had already given up too much, too soon and was being played.

The North's lack of economic development since the war ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, meant it built fewer roads, dams and buildings to disturb or cover remains.

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

But cross-border relations have warmed after South Korean President Moon Jae-in - who has championed dialogue with the isolated North since taking office past year - held a landmark summit with the North's leader Kim Jong Un in April.

"Great progress being made", Trump tweeted on Thursday along with the letter, calling it a "very nice note from Chairman Kim".

On Sunday, Pompeo seemingly shrugged off the bombastic statement and said the talks with North Korean officials were conducted in "good faith".

A statement, by an unnamed foreign ministry official, gave a starkly different account from one provided just hours before by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who attended the talks. McKeague said no new remains had been returned since the Trump-Kim talks. "If those requests were gangster-like, the world is a gangster, because there was a unanimous decision at the UN Security Council about what needs to be achieved", he told reporters.

US officials and experts have said the shift in attitude was to be expected as the North Koreans are known for brinkmanship and trying to up the ante ahead of tough negotiations over their nuclear missile program.

The process was due for a kickstart when North Korean and United Nations officials met on Thursday in the demilitarised zone (DMZ) that divides the Koreas to discuss service members missing in action (MIA). The agreement reportedly covered the remains of some 200 American soldiers.

American officials have been on standby for weeks and have sent wooden coffins and flags to Panmunjom in preparation for a handover. Pyongyang has asked the UN Command Armistice Commission to upgrade the talks to a higher level to include a United States general, South Korea's foreign ministry said. Add North Korea as an interest to stay up to date on the latest North Korea news, video, and analysis from ABC News.

US President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he has a "little gift" for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, but wouldn't reveal what it is. As the war was fought on Korean soil, however, only North Korea has remains to return. But he also acknowledged that a lot of work remained to be done, including on the issue of setting a timeline for denuclearization.

However, recovery efforts were suspended when the relationship between both countries worsened, as the North began the advancement of its nuclear programme.

Other reports by iNewsToday