Trump says North Korean leader may face same fate as Libya's Gaddafi

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
People watch a TV screen showing file footage of US President Donald Trump, left, and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station, in Seoul, South Korea, April 18, 2018.

US President Donald Trump has threatened North Korean leader Kim Jong-un with the same fate as Libya's Muammar Gaddafi if Pyongyang does not abandon its nuclear weapons program.

Trump issued the threat at the White House when he was asked about the recent suggestion by US National Security Adviser John Bolton that the “Libyan model” be a template for dealing with North Korea at a summit between Trump and Kim planned for June 12 in Singapore.

The model Bolton was referring to was Gaddafi’s agreement in December 2003 to surrender Libya’s nuclear weapons program, which included allowing uranium centrifuges to be shipped out to the US.

But Trump appeared to be unaware of that agreement, and interpreted the “Libyan model” to mean the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya in support of an uprising, which ultimately led to Gaddafi’s murder at the hands of Western-backed rebels in Tripoli.

“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 make a deal, most likely. But if we make a deal, I think Kim Jong-un is going to be very, very happy,” Trump said during an Oval Office meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

On Tuesday, North Korea threatened to cancel the summit between its leader and Trump, blaming US demands for "unilateral nuclear abandonment."

Washington will "have to undertake careful deliberations about the fate of the planned North Korea-US summit in light of this provocative military ruckus," said the North's official news agency KCNA.

Trump offers 'protections' if Kim surrenders nukes

Trump also said he is “willing to do a lot” to offer the North Korean leader “protections” if Kim agrees to surrender his nuclear weapons.

“He will get protections that are very strong,” Trump said. “The best thing he could do is make a deal.”

He said preparations for the summit are moving ahead "as if nothing happened.”

"Our people are literally dealing with them right now in terms of making arrangements, so that's a lot different than what you read, but oftentimes what you read, if it's not fake news, is true," he said.

No plans to cut back US-South Korea drills: Pentagon

Meanwhile, the US Department of Defense said on Thursday it was not considering cutting back the joint US-South Korean military exercises which have been condemned by Pyongyang.

"There's been no talk of reducing anything. There's been no talk of changing our scope," Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said.

The exercises "are defensive in nature and the scope hasn't changed ... This is about safeguarding the alliance," she added.

North Korea has threatened to cancel the talks with South Korea unless issues leading to the suspension of a high-level meeting this week are resolved.

"Unless the serious situation, which led to the suspension of the north-south high-level talks, is settled, it will never be easy to sit face to face again with the present regime of South Korea," the statement said without further elaboration.

North Korea has called the "Max Thunder" joint military exercises between the US and the South an "undisguised challenge" and a "deliberate military provocation" against the apparent strides toward peace.

The US-South Korea drills started on May 11 and involve some 100 aircraft from the two countries, including F-22 stealth fighter jets.

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