Woodward, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, was shown the letters but was not permitted to make copies or take photos. He dictated the letters into his tape recorder, and these are transcripts as he read them:
Dec. 25, 2018 letter from Kim Jong Un to Trump
It has been 200 days since the historic DPRK-US summit in Singapore this past June, and the year is now almost coming to an end. Even now I cannot forget that moment of history when I firmly held Your Excellency’s hand at that beautiful and sacred location as the whole world watched with great interest and hope to relive the honor of that day. As I mentioned at that time, I feel very honored to have established an excellent relationship with a person such as Your Excellency.
As the new year 2019 approaches, critical issues that require endless effort toward even higher ideals and goals still await us. Just as Your Excellency frankly noted, as we enter the new year the whole world will certainly once again come to see, not so far in the future, another historic meeting between myself and Your Excellency reminiscent of a scene from a fantasy film.
I have already instructed my closest and most trusted colleagues and the relevant organs to speed up the preparations for holding a second DPRK-US summit and am prepared to achieve good results with Your Excellency during the next meeting.
Nevertheless, what worries me is that it may not reflect positively on us should both sides appear to stubbornly insist on our respective positions regarding the location of the summit. It could also result in wasting a lot of time. Therefore, my position is to urgently hold senior-level contact between the DPRK and the US to internally (translator’s note: privately) discuss and coordinate issues regarding the location.
I hope that Your Excellency will once again demonstrate great decisiveness and excellent leadership to accomplish results in the second DPRK summit. I wholeheartedly hope that the things that Your Excellency seeks to achieve will come to great fruition.
I wish the honorable First Lady, your family and those close to you good health, happiness and great success.
Sincerely, with unchanging respect for Your Excellency the President,
Chairman State Affairs Commission
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
Kim Jong Un
25 December 2018
June 10, 2019 letter from Kim Jong Un to Trump
June 10, 2019
Your Excellency Mr. President,
I am writing this letter to you as we are nearing the first anniversary of our meeting in Singapore on June 12 — the historic moment of great significance that captured the attention of the world and left an imprint still indelible in my memory — as well as to congratulate you on your birthday, which is just days away. I take it as a great honor to be able to send such a letter to Your Excellency.
I extend my sincere and warm regards to Your Excellency on the occasion of your birthday. My regards also to the First Lady and the rest of your family and all your people, and I wish everyone good health and happiness and hope that everyone’s dream will become a beautiful reality.
Like the brief time we had together a year ago in Singapore, every minute we shared 103 days ago in Hanoi was also a moment of glory that remains a precious memory. Such a precious memory that I have in my unwavering respect for you will provide impetus for me to take my steps when we walk toward each other again someday in the future.
I also believe that the deep and special friendship between us will work as a magical force that leads the progress of the DPRK-US relations, clearing all the hurdles we face in the process of bringing about the developments we seek to achieve.
Your Excellency Mr. President, I still respect and lay my hopes on the will and determination that you showed in our first meeting to resolve the issue of our unique style that nobody had ever tried, and to write a new history. Today’s reality is that without a new approach and the courage it takes, the prospects for resolution of the issue will only be bleak.
I believe the one day will come sooner or later when we sit down together to make great things happen, with the will to give another chance to our mutual trust. Such a day should come again. It may well be recorded as yet another fantastic moment in history.
I assure Your Excellency that my respect for you will never change.
Happy birthday once again, Your Excellency. I hope Your Excellency will always be in good health and achieve success in your work. I extend my best wishes on behalf of my family to the First Lady and the rest of your family.
Kim Jong Un
June 10, 2019