US seeks to placate Kim over summit
WASHINGTON – Reuters
U.S. President Donald Trump sought on May 17 to placate North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un after Pyongyang threatened to scrap an unprecedented summit, saying Kim’s security would be guaranteed in any deal and his country would not suffer the fate of Muammar Gaddhafi’s Libya, unless that could not be reached.
In rambling remarks in the White House’s Oval Office in which he also sharply criticized China over trade, Trump said that as far as he knew the meeting with Kim was still on track, but that the North Korean leader was possibly being influenced by Beijing after two recent visits he made there. Trump distanced himself from comments by his national security adviser John Bolton that North Korea angrily denounced when casting doubt on the summit, which is planned for June 12 in Singapore.
“North Korea is actually talking to us about times and everything else as though nothing happened,” Trump told reporters at the start of a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Trump said he was not pursuing the “Libya model” in getting North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program. Bolton has repeatedly suggested the Libya model of unilateral disarmament for North Korea.
Gaddhafi was deposed and killed after Libyans joined the 2011 Arab Spring protests, aided by NATO allies who had encouraged him to give up his banned weapons of mass destruction under a 2003 deal.
In a statement on May 16 that threatened withdrawal from the summit, North Korea’s first vice minister of foreign affairs, Kim Kye Gwan,
derided as “absurd” Bolton’s suggestion of a deal similar to that under which components of Libya’s nuclear program were shipped to the United States.