US President Donald Trump yesterday warned North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un that his security must come to a deal with the West of suffer the fate of Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya.
In rambling remarks in the White House’s Oval Office, Trump said that as far as he knew the meeting with Kim was still on track, but that the North Korean leader was possibly being influenced by China after two recent visits he made there.
“North Korea is actually talking to us about times and everything else as though nothing happened,” Trump told reporters at the start of a meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
Trump said he was not pursuing the “Libya model” in getting North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons programme. Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton has repeatedly suggested the Libya model of unilateral disarmament for North Korea, most recently on Sunday.
Gaddafi was deposed and killed after Libyans joined the 2011 Arab Spring protests, aided by NATO allies who had encouraged him to give up his banned weapons of mass destruction under a 2003 deal.
In a statement on Wednesday that threatened withdrawal from the summit, North Korea’s first vice minister of foreign affairs, Kim Kye Gwan, derided as “absurd” Bolton’s suggestion of a deal similar to that under which components of Libya’s nuclear programme were shipped to the United States.
“[The] world knows too well that our country is neither Libya nor Iraq which have met miserable fate,” he said in apparent reference to the demises of Gaddafi and Iraq’s former president Saddam Hussein.
Trump said the deal he was looking at would give Kim “protections that will be very strong.”
“The Libya model was a much different model. We decimated that country,” he said, adding that it would only come into play “most likely” if a deal could not be reached with North Korea.