SEOUL, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- The former U.S. negotiator to the six-party talks said North Korea would need to commit to denuclearization, if it wants a peace treaty with Washington.
Christopher Hill, who was in Seoul to promote the Korean-language release of his memoir, Outpost: Life on the Frontlines of American Diplomacy, said he doesn't think "North Koreans can take one obligation out of the talks and expect that to be implemented and not implement anything else," Yonhap reported.
Hill told reporters the United States is ready to pursue a peace treaty in the context of North Korea denuclearization, echoing past remarks from members of the Obama administration.
Hill, a former U.S. ambassador to Seoul, is now the dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. In the course of conversation, Hill said the Obama administration's policy of "strategic patience" in its dealings with North Korea is sometimes difficult to understand.
South Korean outlet News 1 reported Hill said there is no relation between trust and North Korea denuclearization, and instead suggested using economic reform incentives to bring North Korea to the negotiation table. Denuclearization is best carried out in gradual steps, Hill said.
The former envoy said the role of China is key in dealings with North Korea, and for this reason dialogue with Beijing should be held daily.
Hill did not provide clear answers regarding the possible deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, on the Korean peninsula. He said, "I think we need to be looking at the range of defensive measures that we have against these offensive military threats...[We] need to work on systems that will render the North Korean threat obsolete."
Hill served as chief U.S. negotiator to the six-party talks between 2005 and 2009, and signed the draft accord on Sept. 19, 2005, on North Korea denuclearization, which Pyongyang has repeatedly violated with underground nuclear tests and missile launches.