Trump calls US-South Korea military exercises ‘ridiculous,’ says he’ll meet with Kim Jong Un on denuclearization soon

President Trump said Saturday that he plans to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “in the not too distant future,” alluding to a third possible summit between the two leaders to discuss denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

{mosads}Trump tweeted early Saturday that Kim had sent him a letter seeking a meeting to start negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang following the conclusion of the United States’s joint exercises with South Korea.

“It was a long letter, much of it complaining about the ridiculous and expensive exercises,” Trump wrote, adding that Kim apologized for testing short range missiles and claimed the “testing would stop when the exercises end.”

“I look forward to seeing Kim Jong Un in the not too distant future! A nuclear free North Korea will lead to one of the most successful countries in the world!” he added.

Trump previously praised the contents of Kim’s letter in remarks to reporters on Friday, calling it a “beautiful” gesture by the North Korean leader.

“I think we’ll have another meeting,” Trump said. “He really wrote a beautiful, three-page — I mean, right from top to bottom — a really beautiful letter. And maybe I’ll release the results of the letter, but it was a very positive letter.”

The president’s remarks come after weeks of negotiating between U.S. and North Korean officials on the possibility of a third summit, which the Trump administration has pushed for following an unsuccessful second meeting earlier this year. The two met in Singapore earlier this year, but failed to move the needle on denuclearization negotiations.

The comments also come after a string of short-range missile launches from North Korea, that analysts say are linked to the joint exercises between the U.S. and South Korea. The president last week downplayed the short-range missile launches, saying they were “very standard” and not a part of the framework agreement he made with Kim last year at their Singapore summit.

North Korea on Friday reportedly fired two more projectiles into the sea, the latest launch as Pyongyang pushes back against the military drills. The reported launch would make it the fifth launch in a little more than two weeks from North Korea.

Pyongyang has said it will judge the future of its relations with the U.S. on whether the Trump administration goes through with the joint exercises. North Korean officials have maintained that any joint operations between the U.S. and South Korea violate an agreement signed by Trump and Kim upon their first meeting last year.

Trump has repeatedly expressed confidence in his ability to reach a denuclearization deal with Kim, though nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang have remained at a standstill.

Updated at 8:30 a.m.

Tags Donald Trump Kim Jong Un

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