US President Donald Trump has warned Kim Jong-un that if he doesn’t do a deal to surrender North Korea’s nuclear weapons, he could eventually suffer the same fate as Muammar Gaddafi through a so-called Libyan model.
Last night, Trump was asked about comments made by John Bolton, his national security adviser, about how best to approach North Korean denuclearisation.
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Bolton has previously argued that North Korea could have a similar deal to Libya, where the state dismantled its nuclear weapons and shipped them to the US and, in return, was granted relief from sanctions.
However, Trump seems to have taken reference to the Libyan model as a reference to the 2011 intervention in Libya by a Nato-led coalition during the country’s civil war.
Nato’s intervention eventually ended with the death of Libyan leader Gaddafi at the hands of rebel forces.
The model, 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 made a deal, most likely. But if we make a deal, I think Kim Jong-un is going to be very very happy.
The comment “that model would take place if we don’t make a deal” suggests a serious threat from Trump to Kim Jong-Un: either that he makes a deal and agrees to give up his nuclear weapons, or North Korea will be overthrown and the leadership disposed of.
It is unlikely that this statement will do anything to improve US-North Korea relations, which this week have gone from tentatively positive to antagonistic.
On Wednesday, North Korea’s state news agency published a statement by the country’s vice-foreign minister lashing out at the comparison between it and Libya made by Bolton, and at the suggestion that it would unilaterally get rid of all its nuclear weapons in exchange for US economic aid.
North Korea is also angry about joint US and South Korean military exercises being conducted this week, and it abruptly cancelled a planned summit with South Korea. The much-hyped summit between Trump and Kim Jong-un planned for June is now in jeopardy.
What is the Libyan model?
Libya’s Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2003 agreed to give up his country’s programmes of weapons of mass destruction in return for aid and sanctions relief.
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Most US sanctions on the country were lifted within a few months and diplomatic ties between the countries restored.
But less than 10 years later Gaddafi, in 2011, the authoritarian leader was toppled by rebels and a Nato backed militia.
Gaddafi was later captured and killed by rebel forces.