According to a report on Thursday, former US President Donald Trump has informed associates that he has maintained communication with North Korea’s secretive leader Kim Jong Un since leaving the White House.
“As we know, he had a fixation on this relationship,” Maggie Haberman of the New York Times said CNN. The revelation is featured in her next book, “The Confidence Man.” about Trump.
Trump famously said in 2018 that he and Kim “fell in love” after exchanging letters, but three meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un failed to persuade him to give up his nuclear weapons and missiles. Trump’s statements could not be confirmed and may not be genuine, according to Haberman.
“What he says and what actually happens aren’t always in sync,” she explained. “But he’s been telling people that he’s maintained some kind of correspondence or discussion with Kim Jong Un.”
It is the only foreign leader with whom Trump has stated that he maintains contact, she added.
The US State Department declined to comment on the claim, and when asked if it was aware of such interaction, neither the State Department nor the White House responded promptly. A request for response from Trump’s spokesperson was likewise not returned.
The Logan Act of 1799 prohibits private people of the United States from engaging with foreign governments without authorisation.
Jenny Town, head of the Washington-based North Korea project 38 North, said Trump was prone to exaggerate and that any communications he sent may have been pleasantries that were not reciprocated.
“But if it’s true, and there’s substantive communication going on without coordination or consultation with the White House,” she added, “it could be highly problematic and potentially counterproductive to US interests.”
President Joe Biden’s administration has consistently supported a resumption of discussion with North Korea, but has resisted pressing for summit talks, preferring detailed lower-level engagement first, which has been rejected.
During his 2020 presidential campaign, Biden referred to Kim as a “thug” but has stated that he would be prepared to meet with him under the appropriate conditions, such as if he agreed to discuss his nuclear program and their advisers met first to build the basis.
Despite Trump’s direct personal contact with Kim, US-North Korean ties deteriorated with the failure of their 2019 Hanoi summit, and Pyongyang stated that it would not engage further until Washington changed its hostile policies.
The Washington Post said that correspondences with Kim were among the presidential papers found in 15 boxes taken last month from Trump’s Florida home by the National Archives.