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S. Korea's ruling party chief expects progress from second N.K.-U.S. summit

Diplomacy 14:53 February 15, 2019

SEOUL, Feb. 15 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's ruling party chief said Friday the upcoming summit between North Korea and the United States in Vietnam is expected to produce progress towards the North's denuclearization.

Lee Hae-chan, chairman of the ruling Democratic Party, issued the forecast at a National Assembly conference, while reflecting on his recent meeting with U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun in Washington.

Biegun briefed Lee, Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang and other South Korean political leaders on preparations for the second North Korea-U.S. summit, set for Feb. 27-28 in Hanoi, Vietnam, during their U.S. visit earlier this week.

"It has come to be my impression that the (summit) will make some progress," Lee said at the conference on peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Lee Hae-chan, chairman of the Democratic Party, speaks at the ruling party's leadership meeting at the National Assembly in Seoul on Feb. 15, 2019. (Yonhap)

Lee also quoted Biegun as saying the U.S. and the North may have to continue their negotiations even after the Hanoi summit.

"It was impressive that the (U.S.) showed willingness to continue its negotiations to resolve problems after the summit. It's difficult to speak more concretely but I had an impression that judgment had already been reached on several issues," said Lee.

"I also observed some apprehension in the U.S. about a complete denuclearization," he said, adding he had the impression that some American politicians didn't appear to have sufficient information on North Korea's latest moves and trends.

Lee said the U.S. politicians seemed to still speak about the current situation in North Korea based on their experience of visiting the North in the 1990s, calling for more dialogue between the political circles of Seoul and Washington.


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