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(LEAD) (US-NK summit) Seoul disappointed over summit, but remains hopeful for progress

Diplomacy 18:40 February 28, 2019

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details from 4th para)
By Byun Duk-kun

SEOUL, Feb. 28 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae expressed disappointment Thursday over the outcome of the second U.S.-North Korea summit, but insisted the two countries have made more progress than ever, even without an agreement.

"(We) do feel regret that President (Donald) Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un could not reach complete agreement at today's summit. But it also appears that they have clearly made more meaningful progress than at any time in the past," Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said in a released statement.

The reaction came shortly after Trump and Kim ended their two-day summit in Hanoi without an agreement.

The Cheong Wa Dae spokesman said the Hanoi meeting may have allowed the two leaders to better understand each other, raising the possibility of a breakthrough in the future.

"Also, the willingness expressed by President Trump to hold continued dialogue and his optimistic view offer a bright prospect for the next meeting," Kim said.

"The fact that President Trump publicly mentioned the possibility of removing or easing sanctions in connection with North Korea's denuclearization steps is an important occasion that shows the discussions between the North and the U.S. have been elevated," it added.

The spokesman expressed hope for continued dialogue between the U.S. and North Korea.

"Our government will do its utmost to make sure the U.S. and North Korea will maintain the momentum for dialogue while continuing their communication and cooperation," he said.

Trump earlier said he will call South Korean President Moon Jae-in later Thursday to explain the outcome of his summit with the North Korean leader.

Thursday's meeting between Trump and Kim came eight months after they held the first-ever U.S.-North Korea summit in Singapore.

bdk@yna.co.kr
(END)

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