President Donald Trump sent his greetings to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un this week after the country’s communist regime held a series of mass rallies and celebrations to celebrate his 36th birthday.
South Korea’s top presidential security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, confirmed after returning from Washington, DC, that Trump had asked him to pass on some congratulatory words for Kim on his 36th birthday during their meeting at the White House.
“As far as I know, the message was conveyed to North Korea yesterday in an appropriate manner,” Chung told journalists at South Korea’s Incheon International Airport.
Trump’s message of goodwill comes despite growing tensions between the U.S. and North Korea following their recent diplomatic thaw. In his recent New Year address, Kim confirmed that his regime would expand testing of unspecified military assets after failing to reach a deal with the U.S. because of their refusal to lift economic sanctions against the regime.
Kim’s birthday celebration is believed to have taken place on Wednesday, with mass rallies reportedly being held in Kangwon, North Phyongan, South Hamgyong, and Ryanggang provinces on Wednesday and Thursday.
The regime has never officially confirmed Kim Jong-un’s birthdate.
— NK NEWS (@nknewsorg) January 9, 2020
According to the state propaganda outlet Rodong Sinmun, the rallies included attendees pledging to “thoroughly implement the tasks” in Kim’s recent address. It also featured various speakers from the Korean Worker’s Party who emphasized the importance of this “immortal program enabling them to hasten the great cause of achieving prosperity by self-reliance.”
The outlet reported:
[Speakers] stressed that the idea and line of the Party on breaking through head-on all the difficulties to our advance boost the enthusiasm for the revolution and struggle and encourage them to new miracles and feats.
They called upon all to turn out as one in the majestic and sacred campaign for opening a broad avenue to the Korean-style socialism with the conviction of certain victory and in high spirits along the invariable orbit of achieving the prosperity by dint of self-reliance, true to the leadership of Kim Jong Un.
Negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea have faltered since the collapse of the second Kim-Trump meeting in February last year when the two sides clashed on the issue of sanctions. The two leaders met again in June and agreed to resume talks, but an October meeting between negotiators collapsed over the same issue of sanctions.
Despite the breakdown in talks, Trump has repeatedly boasted about his good relationship with Kim Jong-un, describing “beautiful” letters he has received his North Korean counterpart. Kim has previously praised Trump’s “unusual determination and will” to advance diplomatic relations.