Donald Trump shares letter from Kim Jong Un, says ‘progress being made!’

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Kim Jong Un told President Donald Trump he believed their efforts could open up a "new future" between North Korea and the United States and expressed hope for "practical actions" in the future, according to a letter from the North Korean leader released on Thursday.

"The significant first meeting with Your Excellency and the joint statement that we signed together in Singapore 24 days ago was indeed the start of a meaningful journey", the letter reads.

Some remains have been returned to the US over the years, but very few since recovery efforts were mostly halted in 2005 as U.S. US intelligence analysts said in the wake of the summit that Pyongyang is working to hide key elements of its program, including the number of weapons it maintains and secret production facilities.

Now, however, the mood in Pyongyang appears to be more conciliatory, with Kim keen for another meeting with Trump.

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American officials have been on standby for weeks and have sent wooden coffins and flags to Panmunjom in preparation for a handover.

US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said North Korea has now offered to meet the delegation on Sunday. Kim also agreed then to repatriate remains of US troops who died during the Korean War six decades ago.

He left with only an agreement to set up working groups to discuss aspects of the deal, including the planned meeting on returning the remains. Roughly 5,300 USA troops presumed to have been killed in the Korean war are unaccounted for.

U.S. Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) director Kelly McKeague stated in an interview with Reuters that the agency is "hopeful these discussions on July 12 will lead to further discussions and negotiations directly with the North Koreans by which we can actually get down to the detailed planning".

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North Korea had also released the three American prisoners the government had been holding ahead of the summit.

The BBC reported speculation that North Korea may want payment for the return of the remains.

President Trump posted Kim's personal letter on social media Thursday, saying he just received a "very nice note from Chairman Kim of North Korea". Despite the secretary's attempt to put a positive spin on the visit, as soon as he was out of the country, North Korea criticized his "unilateral and gangster-like" demands and called the talks "regrettable". The expected North Korean officials never arrived, according to the official who requested anonymity as he was not permitted to talk publicly about the event. "I have it for him", Trump said.

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