U.S. President Donald Trump's decision not to recertify a nuclear deal with Iran sends the "perfect message" to North Korea about its own nuclear program, Washington's top envoy to the United Nations said Sunday.
Trump announced Friday that he would not recertify the 2015 multilateral deal under which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. He stopped short of withdrawing from the agreement, but critics said the move undermined U.S. credibility in any future negotiations with Pyongyang over its nuclear program.
"It sends the perfect message to North Korea, which is we're not going to engage in a bad deal," Ambassador Nikki Haley said in an interview on ABC News. "Should we ever get into a deal, we're going to hold you accountable. We're not going to look the other way because we think we have made a deal and we're not going to continue to watch it."
Trump's decision on the Iran deal was based on the lessons learned from North Korea, she added, apparently referring to past denuclearization-for-aid agreements that North Korea later reneged on.
"What you see is the president is trying to make sure that Iran doesn't become the next North Korea," Haley said.
Tensions have heightened over North Korea's weapons programs since the regime conducted a series of ballistic missile and nuclear tests this year.
Trump has threatened to "totally destroy" the country if necessary and dismissed his top diplomat's efforts to reach out to the regime as a waste of time.
"We're not going to do what we have done for the last 25 years," Haley said, using a refrain from Trump's remarks. "We're not going to beg them to come to the negotiating table. We're not going to try to win them over with incentives and things like that."
Until North Korea stops nuclear testing, Haley said, there will be no talks.
Asked if there can be talks after North Korea stops testing, she said, "Let's wait and see if they stop testing."
In a separate interview on CNN, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accused Trump of "playing into Kim Jong-un's hands" with his bombastic threats.
"What we've done is to build him up, give him more legitimacy than he deserves to have, given how his people are being treated, and I think that's a very short-sighted and dangerous route to take," said Clinton, Trump's rival in last year's presidential election.