Tags: North Korea | ambassador christopher hill | south korea | north korea | missile | crisis

Amb. Hill: South Koreans Living 'With Cuban Missile Crisis' for Years

(MSNBC)

By    |   Monday, 17 Apr 2017 03:02 PM

The Trump administration's tough talk on North Korea may have been helpful, even if it didn't scare President Kim Jong Un into compliance, former Ambassador Christopher Hill said Monday.

"If it didn't scare the North Koreans, it probably scared the Chinese into doing something about the North Koreans," Hill, the former assistant secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs during the Obama administration, told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program.

But the questions remains, Hill said, whether the United States is bluffing, and if it is prepared to follow through.

"That's what no one really knows," Hill said. "There are a lot of questions about the issue of when you apparently bluff, are you prepared to follow through on a bluff? That's what no one really knows."

What people do know, however, is that the Trump administration is taking the matter of North Korea seriously, he continued, as President Donald Trump "doesn't want to go before the American people in 2020 and say 'well, we looked at it and gave it a try. We weren't able to stop the nuclear program.'"

Meanwhile, the people of South Korea have been living with "essentially the Cuban Missile Crisis there for years," said Hill, and now they are worried about what will happen under the Trump administration.

"I want to emphasize that this issue has not gone away," Hill said. "There is no sign whatsoever that Kim Jong Un has decided to change course, and yet that's precisely what we need him to do and ideally what we would like him to do without some kind of war fighting."

There are 20 million South Koreans within conventional weapons range of North Korea, Hill pointed out, saying it's important that if there is talk of preemptive strikes and other moves to be "very clear" with South Korea about the plans.

"[We must] have some agreement on that, otherwise we create a historic problem with an ally that we really must protect and strengthen," Hill said.

The former ambassador also noted that there must be an understanding with China, and at the same time speaking with South Korea about any plans.

"We don't want to be talking to the Chinese about the future of the peninsula without talking to the South Koreans," Hill said. "There's an understanding of these different elements, and I guess President Trump said it himself, 'I talked about this for ten minutes and realized it was more complicated than I thought before.'"

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The Trump administration's tough talk on North Korea may have been helpful, even if it didn't scare President Kim Jong Un into compliance, former Ambassador Christopher Hill said Monday.
ambassador christopher hill, south korea, north korea, missile, crisis
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2017-02-17
Monday, 17 Apr 2017 03:02 PM
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