The timing of the letter is key, explained two sources, who said that Kim planned the delivery before the anniversary of the leaders' first meeting to allow Trump to tout continued success.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's deceased half brother, Kim Jong Nam, who was killed in 2017, was working as an informant for the Central Intelligence Agency, a person familiar with the matter said, according to a Wall Street Journal report on Monday.
In February of 2017, two women smeared a substance on the face of Kim Jong Nam while he was in Kuala Lumpur International Airport. And I would tell him that would not happen under my auspices - that's for sure.
His comments represented the latest in a series of instances in which he has appeared to be at odds with the U.S. intelligence community.
The CIA had no immediate comment.
Nuclear-armed North Korea, a police state largely sealed off from the outside world that uses extensive networks of informants to spy on fellow citizens, is considered a "hard target" by the USA intelligence community because of the difficulty of recruiting agents.
North Korea expressed condolences to the South over the death of former first lady Lee Hee-ho. However, the unnamed officials who revealed his involvement to the Journal noted that American spies did not consider him of great value as either an intelligence source or a potential replacement for his half-brother.
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A deal to denuclearize North Korea has proven elusive to Trump, despite two high-profile summits with Kim. Last year, the American president called one of Kim's letters "a lovely piece of art".
There's a new theory surrounding the murder of Kim Jong Un's half-brother in a Malaysian airport.
"I think it's exactly where we were a year ago", said Darcie Draudt, a North Korea researcher and visiting scholar at Seoul's Yonsei University. Negotiations between the US and North Korea have also been at a standstill and Kim has declared that the Trump administration has until the end of the year to offer mutually acceptable terms for a deal to salvage the negotiations.
"We have reached the point where we can no longer effectively plan, coordinate, and conduct field operations in the DPRK during this fiscal year, which ends on September 30, 2019", said the Defense Department agency in charge of recovering the remains.
A February summit between Kim and Trump in Hanoi, Vietnam had been expected to at least lay out a path forward.
"Several former US officials said the half brother, who had lived outside of North Korea for many years and had no known power base in Pyongyang, was unlikely to be able to provide details of the secretive country's inner workings", the Journal said. Trump is due to travel to Seoul later this month, after attending a Group of 20 summit in Japan on June 28-29.
"He's kept his word to me". At other moments, Trump has said the tests were unimportant because the short-range missiles were not capable of hitting the United States.
Kim Dae-jung, president from 1998 to 2003, is known for championing a so-called Sunshine policy of engagement with North Korea.