Kim calls for more Korea talks with Moon in new year

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President Moon Jae-in said Monday that North Korea leader Kim Jong-un's personal letter sent to him on Sunday contains a "positive" message that could give hints as to what direction North Korea could be headed in denuclearization and inter-Korean relations, a source said.

According to Moon's spokesman, Kim said in the letter to the South Korean president that he was sorry his previously planned trip to Seoul this year did not take place.

Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom told reporters the North Korean leader expressed regret for not being able to make his visit to Seoul this year as he wished and agreed with Moon in Pyongyang.

Kim Jong-un also "expressed an intention to meet with Moon frequently in 2019" to pursue peace and "solve the issue of denuclearising the peninsula together", the spokesman said.

The tweet also included a photo that showed a ruby-coloured folder emblazoned with the seal of Pyongyang's powerful State Affairs Commission and the top part of Kim's letter, which started with: "Dear your excellency President Moon Jae-in".

Leader Kim Jong-un declared an end to missile launches earlier this year after a crunch summit with US President Donald Trump in Singapore in June.

Kim revived his grandfather's tradition of personally delivering a New Year's message in 2013 after taking power in the wake of his father's death.

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But the USA maintains it will keep sanctions in place against North Korea.

Kim and Moon met three times in 2018 and have made a series of goodwill gestures as well as vowing to resume economic cooperation when possible.

During Moon's visit to Pyongyang in September, Kim promised to pay a return visit to Seoul "at an earliest date", sparking speculation that he may visit by the end of this year.

Moon reiterated the invitation to the DPRK leader to visit Seoul and welcomed his desire to hold more meetings during 2019 to discuss practical measures to achieve lasting peace, prosperity and complete denuclearization.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (left) and North Koran leader Kim Jong-un stand at the headquarters of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party in Pyongyang, North Korea in September.

With limited negotiations having been made between the U.S. and North Korea in recent months, it makes sense that Kim would be trying to cut through the bureaucracy with direct leader-to-leader communications. Officials in neighboring countries follow the speeches closely to obtain overall information about the country and how it will act on diplomatic issues such as its nuclear weapons program.

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