Kim Jong Un fan clubs mushroom in South Korea amid warming ties

Kim Jong Un sends rare letter to South Korean leader after extraordinary year	 	 	 			Kim John Un

'However, our hearts will become more open if we put in that much effort.

Moon Jae-in, in a message posted on Facebook, stressed Kim's willingness to comply with the South Korean and USA agreements on the issue, but acknowledged that many obstacles remain to be overcome.

"At the current rate of production, North Korea could have around 100 warheads by 2020 - nearly half the size of the U.K.'s stockpile", it quoted Robert Litwak of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington as saying.

But stalled nuclear talks between Pyongyang and Washington had an impact on inter-Korean ties, with the South's plan to host Kim in Seoul this year - as agreed at his summit with President Moon Jae-in in Pyongyang in September - going unanswered by the North.

In a rare letter to Seoul, Mr Kim said he wished to pursue peace between the countries and "solve the issue of denuclearising the peninsula together", a spokesman for Mr Moon said.

The rivals have also taken steps to reduce their conventional military threat, such as removing mines and firearms from the border village of Panmunjom, destroying some front-line guard posts and creating buffer zones along their land and sea boundaries and a no-fly zone above the border.

Moon's spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said in a statement that Kim said he is "willing to meet often" with Moon next year, according to Reuters.

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The spokesperson quoted Kim as saying the two leaders went beyond the long-running confrontation between the two Koreas and liberated their people from military tension and fear of war by meeting three times this year.

'Chairman Kim said he will keep a close eye on the situation and expressed strong will to visit Seoul.

The message to Trump would have come at the same time the North Korean leader also said he was committed to denuclearization of the peninsula in a letter sent to his South Korean counterpart, ABC News reported.

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.

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 worldwide 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.

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