WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump threatened North Korean leader Kim Jong-un with “decimation,” unless he agrees to denuclearize the Korean peninsula.
With the June 12 US-North Korea summit at stake, Trump gave Kim two options: reach an agreement to denuclearize and remain in power or suffer the fate of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who was overthrown and murdered by rebels who were supported by a NATO bombing campaign in 2011.
“If you look at that model with Gaddafi, that was a total decimation. We went in there to beat him. Now that model would take place if we don’t make a deal, most likely,” Trump told reporters prior to his meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the White House.
“But if we make a deal, I think Kim Jong-un is going to be very, very happy,” the president added.
Trump, however, said that the United States is not using “the Libyan model” in its negotiations with North Korea, distancing himself from National Security Adviser John Bolton, who had explicitly mentioned “the Libya model of 2003-2004” as a basis for talks with Pyongyang.
In 2003, Muammar Gaddafi agreed to eliminate his country’s weapons of mass destruction in exchange for US economic incentives, although the agreement purportedly did not give Gaddafi any security guarantees.
By “Libyan model,” Trump seemed to be referring to the 2011 NATO bombing campaign against the Libyan government, which helped rebels overthrow Gaddafi, who was soon brutally murdered by these groups.
“The Libyan model isn’t the model we have at all when we are thinking of North Korea. In Libya, we decimated that country ... There was no deal to keep Gaddafi,” Trump said.
“This with Kim Jong-un would be something where he would be there. He would be running his country. His country would be very rich,” the president added.
Trump said that if Kim Jong-un agreed to denuclearize, “he’ll get protections that would be very strong,” referring to guarantees for Kim to remain in power.
Trump also downplayed Pyongyang’s threats to pull out of the US-North Korea summit planned for June 12 in Singapore, saying “North Korea’s actually talking to us about times and everything else as though nothing happened.”
“Our people are literally dealing with them right now,” Trump added.