By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4)– A former ambassador to South Korea says Pres. Donald Trump did the right thing to cancel the planned summit.

Christopher Hill is now Chief Advisor to the Chancellor for Global Engagement at the University of Denver. He told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger the rhetoric from North Korea indicated there was trouble in going ahead with the summit.

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CBS4’s Rick Sallinger interviews Christopher Hill (credit: CBS)

“We could see it coming in the past couple of weeks,” he said.

He has traveled to North Korea three times, served as U.S. Ambassador to South Korea, and headed
the U.S. negotiating team over nuclear weapons meeting with the North Koreans dozens of times.

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(credit: Christopher Hill)

He says to deal with North Korea you have to understand it’s leader.

“Kim Jong Un is essentially in competition with his deceased father and deceased grandfather both of whom failed to make North Korea a great nuclear power.”

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North Korea Dictator Kim Jong Un (credit: CBS)

He says they also want to take over South Korea, but the alliance with the U.S. has prevented that.

A South Korean television crew was there to interview Ambassador Hill during one visit by CBS.

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North Korea (credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Sallinger asked the former ambassador and negotiator if the U.S. should we trust North Korea.

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(credit: CBS)

“To paraphrase Tina Turner, ‘What’s trust got to do with it,’ it’s really all about verification.”

When he was in North Korea, the country destroyed a nuclear cooling tower. It was supposed to be a step towards denuclearization.

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(credit: Christopher Hill)

Another site was destroyed on Thursday.

“They couldn’t use it again so claimed it was something they were doing for us.”

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Christopher Hill (credit: CBS)

He called it “a big show.”

Hill has served in many countries and is author of the book “Outpost, A Diplomat at work.”

Christopher Hill biography: Ambassador Hill is a former career diplomat, a four-time ambassador, nominated by three presidents, whose last post was as Ambassador to Iraq, April 2009 until August 2010. Prior to Iraq, Hill served as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs from 2005 until 2009 during which he was also the head of the US delegation to the Six Party Talks on the North Korean nuclear issue. Earlier, He was the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea. Previously he served as U.S. Ambassador to Poland (2000-2004), Ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia (1996-1999) and Special Envoy to Kosovo (1998-1999). He also served as a Special Assistant to the President and a Senior Director on the staff of the National Security Council, 1999-2000.

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

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