US President Donald Trump offered North Korea’s Kim Jong-un guarantees of staying in power if he abandons nuclear weapons, but warned he could end up like Libya’s former leader if he doesn’t.
In an effort to put his planned landmark summit with Kim back on track, Trump said on Thursday that North Korea “will get protections that will be very strong” if the meeting were to go ahead successfully.
“He’d be in his country and running his country. His country would be very rich,” he told reporters.
But the pledge came barbed with a warning that if talks fail, Kim could suffer the same fate as Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, who was overthrown by rebels and gruesomely killed.
The fate suffered by Libya shows “what will take place if we don’t make a deal”, the US president warned.
Trump’s remarks came as Pyongyang threatened to cancel the historic summit, set for June 12 in Singapore, after blaming US demands for “unilateral nuclear abandonment”.
A North Korean official also derided as “absurd” comments by Trump’s top security adviser, John Bolton, who referred to Libya as a model for denuclearisation.
The model Bolton was referring to was a 2003 deal in which Gaddafi agreed to the elimination of his country’s nuclear programme and chemical weapons arsenal to gain sanctions relief.