Kim Jong Nam the late brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
12 June, 2019, 23:38
U.S. President Donald Trump took a public stance against the use of CIA informants to spy on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday, saying it would not happen on his watch and possibly taking away a valuable tool of the U.S. intelligence community.
Trump told the press before departing the White House for Iowa that he received a "very warm" and "very nice" letter from Kim on Monday, without providing more details about the letter. "I appreciated the letter".
Trump said that Kim had "kept his word" and there had been "no nuclear testing, no major missile testing" since their recent negotiations.
But Trump touted the letter as a sign that the talks were on track.
"We have a very good relationship together ... But in the meantime, we have our hostages back, the remains keep coming back, we have a relationship".
But their second meeting in Vietnam in February ended abruptly as the two failed to agree on what Kim would be willing to give up in exchange for sanctions relief.
Bob Baer, a former CIA case officer and CNN analyst, said that it is not a surprise that Trump would deny the US has used spies to collect intelligence on North Korea.
The State Department declined to comment on the content of the letter and the White House did not respond to a request for comment.
In a further diplomatic twist, South Korea's Unification Ministry say the Supreme Leader's sister will meet officials later that evening in the border village of Panmunjom.
Not only have US officials given conflicting statements about whether they are open to a step-by-step denuclearization process, Trump at times openly disagrees with his top advisors over Korea policy.
As the Trump administration looks for ways to continue engagement with North Korea, Trump has repeatedly downplayed North Korea's latest test of a short-range ballistic missile. I view it as a man - perhaps he wants to get attention, and perhaps not.
The newspaper spoke to several former American officials who said that Kim's value to intelligence services was likely quite limited, despite his family ties.
Kim Jong-nam, the murdered half-brother of North Korea's Kim Jong Un, was an informant for the Central Intelligence Agency whose operatives met him on several occasions, according to a media report.
At the Hanoi meeting, Washington sought a more immediate comprehensive denuclearisation deal while Pyongyang wanted a step-by-step process, and demanded the lifting of key economic sanctions in return for shutting down its Yongbyon nuclear complex, which the United States refused.
The CIA operatives had met with Kim, 45, on several occasions, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
Once seen as the natural successor to his father and then-leader Kim Jong Il, Kim Jong Nam apparently fell from grace after being deported from Japan in 2001 for trying to enter on a forged passport to visit Disneyland.