President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, May 17, 2018.
President Trump, contradicting his national security adviser, dismissed talk of applying the “Libyan model” to the denuclearization of North Korea, reassuring North Korea’s Kim Jong Un that he would remain in power if he gave up his nuclear weapons.
“The Libyan model isn’t a model that we have at all when we’re thinking of North Korea,” 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.”
Trump’s comments were a rebuke of his national security adviser John Bolton’s comments late last month that the “Libya model of 2003, 2004” could be applied to US negotiations with North Korea.
But while Bolton was referring to the dismantling of Libya’s weapons of mass destruction program, Trump appeared to refer to the “Libyan model” as the subsequent military intervention in Libya years later that removed Moammar Gadhafi from power.
“The Libyan model was a much different model. We decimated that country, we never said to Gadhafi, ‘Oh we’re going to give you protection,'” Trump said. “We went in and decimated him and we did the same thing with Iraq.”
Trump also warned Kim that North Korea could be “decimated” like Libya if the US and North Korea do not reach a deal.