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U.S. ambassador to Seoul optimistic about denuclearization process Updated: 2018-09-12 18:04:26 KST

Hope is a weapon in diplomacy.
U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris shared a statement he found profound to the audience at the 48th Far East Forum in Seoul.

The former U.S. Pacific Command Commander said on Tuesday that Seoul and Washington are in the very early days of their "experiment" in the denuclearization of North Korea, and while it may or may not turn out well, it's okay to be hopeful and optimistic.

"I think we have a great opportunity ahead of us because of the work of both our presidents. We are in an unimaginable place. I could not imagine what I saw in Singapore or saw at Panmunjom even a year ago, when I was a Pacific Command Commander. And yet, here we are today."

Harris backed up his statements by saying how much confidence President Trump has that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will keep his promise to dismantle the regime's nuclear program, as sealed by their handshake at the June 12th summit in Singapore.

North Korea's human rights violations were also raised -- with the ambassador saying the U.S. remains deeply concerned.
Harris assured that the U.S. will remain sensitive to the issue, and continue working with the international community to solve it, like exposing the issue to people around the world.

Asked about the possibility of reducing the U.S. troop presence in the South, Harris said that, despite numerous reports, such a move is not being contemplated.
He went on to credit American troops in the South, the South Korean military and their joint forces for having played a significant role in bringing the two allies back to the table with the North.

Harris said such an ironclad alliance is what built mutual security and co-economic prosperity for both sides, and that maintaining those strong ties is one of his top priorities as the U.S. ambassador to South Korea.
Lee Ji-won, Arirang News.
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