South Korean Moon Jae-in and North Korean Kim Jong-un exchange letters

Korean leaders Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-in exchanged personal letters this week, Northern state news agency KCNA reported. This file photo shows the two leaders at the end of an inter-Korean summit in 2018.

Pyeongyang Press Corps | Getty Images News | Getty Images

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un responded this week to a personal letter from outgoing South Korean President Moon Jae-in, North Korea’s state news agency KCNA reported.

According to KCNA, Moon said he wants to make joint statements from both parties “the foundation for reunification” even after he steps down as president. Kim “appreciated Moon’s pain and effort,” the report said.

“The exchange of personal letters between the top leaders of the North and South is an expression of their deep confidence,” KCNA said.

Moon’s spokesman said the president has asked Kim to remain committed to cooperation, and that dialogue should overcome the “era of confrontation,” Reuters reported.

The news comes days after the retreating North conducted another missile test, and weeks before the inauguration of incoming South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol on May 10.

Relations between the two sides initially warmed under Moon, who held three summits with Kim in 2018. But ties deteriorated sharply and the north threatened military action. It also blew up its joint liaison office with South Korea in 2020.

However, the letters between Moon and Kim do not represent a shift toward diplomacy, according to Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul. He noted that North Korea has planned military displays.

Still, he said the friendly communication between the two sides is “a reminder that inter-Korean relations are not entirely confrontational and should include dialogue”.

Leave a Comment