Former ambassador Christopher Hill, who led the Bush-era negotiations to get rid of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, said Sunday that President Donald Trump was "trying to out-North Korean the North Koreans" with his aggressive rhetoric against the totalitarian state.
"I think he’s trying to out-North Korean the North Koreans, so let’s see if that works," Hill, who later served as ambassador to Iraq under President Barack Obama, said on ABC’s "This Week."
"Certainly it makes people nervous when they’re not quite sure what he means by it. And, you know, great powers can’t really bluff. So when you talk in those terms, you’ve got to be prepared to back it up. And I guess that’s what worries people the most."
The Trump administration has debated responding to North Korea’s aggressiveness by placing nuclear weapons in South Korea or by plotting to assassinate dictator Kim Jong Un, NBC News reported earlier this month.
Hill said the threat posed by North Korea now was greater than in the past because of the country’s recent successful missile tests. "it’s a new generation of missiles, and clearly they’re working on a warhead design for nuclear devices," he said. "So this is, I think, a very serious matter and it’s coming down the tracks."
"If I were President Trump, I wouldn’t want to go before the American people in 2020 and say, well, you know, we gave it the junior college try and we decided there’s nothing we can do about this," Hill added.