South Korean officials announced Friday that hackers have leaked the personal information of almost 1,000 North Korean defectors.
Talks between the US and North Korea have made little progress since Trump and Kim held an unprecedented summit in June and signed to "work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula", without defining the term or setting a deadline.
Post-summit nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang quickly settled into a stalemate as the countries struggled between the sequencing of the North's disarmament and the removal of US -led global sanctions against the North.
The meetings followed a rollercoaster few years of relations between US President Donald Trump and Kim - nosediving with Trump's famous "Rocket man" speech at the United Nations General Assembly in 2017, and peaking with their highly anticipated summit in Singapore earlier this year.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in hailed Sunday the ratified commitment of DPRK leader Kim Jong-un to the denuclearization of the peninsula in thanking him for his New Year " s letter.
Moon welcomed the latest message, saying the North's leader had also expressed "active intention to carry out agreements" made in his previous summits with the USA and the South, without elaborating further.
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Kim's letter made no mention of Trump or the U.S.
"[Chairman Kim] redefined his standpoint in actively carrying out agreements in the inter-Korean summit as well as the US-DPRK summit", Moon wrote, continuing, "I welcome chairman Kim's intentions to meet several times in the new year to find solution for denuclearization and to solve practical problems in achieving peace and prosperity". With global sanctions squeezing the country's trade flow and cash supply, any clues about the North Korean economy or Kim's growth strategies will be closely examined.
During Moon's visit to Pyongyang in September, Kim promised to pay a return visit to the South's capital Seoul "at an earliest date", sparking speculation he may visit by the end of this year.
The move raises hopes for a positive message in his annual New Year's Day policy speech to be delivered on North Korea's state television. President Moon said South Korea is "unchanged in welcoming" Kim's reciprocal visit to the South Korean capital.
"There is a dialogue channel between North Korea and the United States through which they exchange active communication, but I can not know whether it took the form of letter or something else", Moon's spokesman told a news briefing yesterday.
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