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Iran nuclear deal provides example for North Korea, says ex-U.S. envoy

Christopher Hill said North Korea would benefit from taking a serious look at the deal with Tehran and taking steps toward denuclearization.

By
Elizabeth Shim
Christopher Hill, a former top U.S. nuclear negotiator, said Monday that North Korea should learn from Iran's nuclear deal even as Seoul remains on guard over Pyongyang's next ballistic missile test launch. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Christopher Hill, a former top U.S. nuclear negotiator, said Monday that North Korea should learn from Iran's nuclear deal even as Seoul remains on guard over Pyongyang's next ballistic missile test launch. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, April 7 (UPI) -- The recent nuclear deal with Iran is a good model for North Korea to mediate an agreement toward denuclearization, a former top U.S. negotiator said Monday.

During discussions centered around his memoir on a diplomatic career, former six-party talks negotiator Christopher Hill said he is upbeat about the Iranian nuclear deal, Yonhap reported.

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Last week, Iran and a core group of nations reached an agreement to bring Iran's nuclear program into compliance with international standards. Tehran, in turn, would be exempt from previous economic sanctions.

Speaking at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, Hill said, "If I were a serious North Korean, I would be looking at that and saying, 'Why can't we do something like this?'"

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Hill said he remembered North Korean representatives used to ask him why they could not "be India" – an Asian country known to possess weapons of mass destruction.

In the course of discussion, Hill said he does not see signs North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was keen on eliminating his nuclear arsenal. The underlying cause is the lack of a collective North Korean decision to join the outside world, Hill said.

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Hill also said Seoul and Washington should work closely to discuss the possibility of installing anti-ballistic missile defense system THAAD in South Korea.

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The former U.S. envoy said he is aware of China's opposition to THAAD deployment but added they know it's "not about them. It's about North Korea."

On Monday Voice of America reported Seoul is remaining on guard for a possible ballistic missile launch from North Korean territory, ahead of U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter's visit.

North Korea has designated a no-sail and no-flight zone for ships and aircraft off the eastern coast of the Korean peninsula, but a South Korean defense ministry spokesman said Pyongyang had not notified Seoul of the designation.

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