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Ex-diplomat says North Korean leader won't give up nukes

Thae Yong Ho, a former North Korean diplomat, who defected to South Korea in 2016, speaks to the media in Seoul, South Korea, on Feb. 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- A former North Korean diplomat says leader Kim Jong Un has no intention of giving up his nuclear weapons and sees his upcoming second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump as a chance to cement his country's status as a nuclear weapons state.

Thae Yong Ho, who defected to South Korea in 2016, said in a news conference in Seoul on Tuesday that next week's meeting in Vietnam will be a failure if Trump can't get Kim to declare he will abandon all of his nuclear facilities and weapons and return North Korea to the nuclear non-proliferation agreement.

Thae worked as a minster at the North Korean Embassy in London before fleeing to South Korea. He is the highest-level North Korean diplomat to defect to the South.

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