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Trump warns North Korea of Libya-style ‘decimation’ if no deal made

U.S. President Donald Trump warned Thursday that North Korea would be met with the same “decimation” as Libya if a deal was not made regarding the country’s nuclear weapons.

(Article by Mikael Thalen republished from

The president was asked while speaking with reporters in the White House about repeated claims from National Security Advisor John Bolton that the “Libya model” was being used for North Korean denuclearization.

Bolton’s remarks refer to a 2003 deal in which Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi agreed to shutter his country’s nuclear weapons program in an attempt to strengthen ties with the U.S.

While attempting to distance himself from Bolton’s stance, Trump appears to have confused the Libya denuclearization model with the 2011 NATO campaign that saw Gaddafi overthrown and brutally killed by U.S.-backed insurgents.

“The model, if you look at that model with Gaddafi, that was a total decimation. We went in there to beat them,” Trump told reporters. “Now, that model would take place if we don’t make a deal, most likely.”

Concerns over Bolton’s comments arose earlier this week when North Korea threatened to back out of the Trump-Kim summit set for June 12 in Singapore.

In a statement Tuesday from North Korea’s First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Kim Kye Gwan, Pyongyang accused the Trump administration, citing Bolton specifically, of making unrealistic demands.

“World knows too well that our country is neither Libya nor Iraq which have met miserable fate. It is absolutely absurd to dare compare the DPRK, a nuclear weapon state, to Libya which had been at the initial stage of nuclear development,” Gwan wrote. “We shed light on the quality of Bolton already in the past, and we do not hide our feeling of repugnance towards him.”

Though attempting to reassure North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that a deal would work in his favor, Trump’s threat may have inadvertently confirmed Pyongyang’s biggest fears concerning the West.

“Bolton’s ‘Libya model’ and Trump’s ‘Libya model’ are two different things; by emphasizing the latter, Trump showed North Korea that it had been right all along to be wary of Bolton’s comments,” The Diplomat’s Ankit Panda writes. “For North Korea, a Libya-style disarmament deal with the United States sets the Kim regime down the road to a painful and undignified end.”

Pyongyang pointed to the death of Gaddafi in 2011 as one of the primary reasons it could not trust the U.S. in making a nuclear deal.

“It was fully exposed before the world that ‘Libya’s nuclear dismantlement,’ much touted by the U.S. in the past, turned out to be a mode of aggression whereby the latter coaxed the former with such sweet words as ‘guarantee of security’ and ‘improvement of relations’ to disarm itself and then swallowed it up by force,” North Korean state-run media said.

Aside from threatening to end the Trump-Kim summit before it begins, North Korea this week cancelled high-level talks with South Korea and barred members of its media from attending next week’s closure of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site.

Intelligence officials speaking with the Washington Times say North Korea’s current posturing is part of a “highly calculated” strategy “to harden its negotiating position against a quick ‘Libya-style’ surrender.”

North Korea has thus far declined to respond to the president’s remarks.

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