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U.S. military commander voices optimism about N. Korea summit, doubts denuclearization

Diplomacy 00:19 February 13, 2019

WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 (Yonhap) -- A top U.S. military commander on Tuesday expressed optimism ahead of this month's second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, but he also questioned the regime's seriousness about abandoning its nuclear weapons program.

The remarks by Adm. Philip Davidson, chief of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, come two weeks before the Feb. 27-28 summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, where the two leaders are expected to flesh out measures to achieve the North's denuclearization in return for U.S. security guarantees.

"We think it is unlikely that North Korea will give up all of its nuclear weapons or production capabilities, but seeks to negotiate partial denuclearization in exchange for U.S. and international concessions," Davidson said in a written statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"President Trump's meeting with Chairman Kim in Singapore in June 2018 was a significant milestone, and
I am optimistic about another U.S.-North Korea summit," he said, citing some of the steps North Korea has taken so far, including what he called the "reversible" dismantlement of tunnels at its nuclear testing site in Punggye-ri

"Yet much needs to be done to make meaningful progress," he said.

hague@yna.co.kr
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