Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Trump Rebuffs Bolton on 'Libya Model'

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Trump Rebuffs Bolton on 'Libya Model'

Article excerpt

President Donald Trump rebutted his national security adviser, telling reporters he didn't consider the nuclear disarmament of Libya a model for negotiations with North Korea over its atomic weapons program.

"The Libya model isn't a model we have at all" for North Korea, Mr. Trump said Thursday during a meeting at the White House with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

National Security Adviser John Bolton drew the ire of the North Korean government for saying that the country's nuclear disarmament should follow the "Libya model" embraced by Moammar Gadhafi, who after giving up his atomic weapons was later overthrown and killed in a U.S.-backed uprising. In fact, Mr. Bolton's statement figured in North Korea's threat earlier this week to cancel the Trump-Kim summit meeting planned for June.

That history is well understood by Kim Jong Un's regime. In a blistering statement Wednesday, North Korea's vice foreign minister and a top disarmament negotiator, Kim Kye Gwan, said his government felt "repugnance" toward Mr. Bolton.

North Korea ramped up its criticism of South Korea on Thursday, warning of a "rupture" in ties and saying it will not return to talks with its "impudent" and "shameless" rival until Seoul resolves its grievances amid ongoing U.S.-South Korean military exercises. The White House has tried to tamp down concerns that a June 12 summit between Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim may be derailed.

Mr. Trump said Thursday that comparisons with Libya would be more apt if North Korea fails to reach an agreement with the U.S. to rid itself of nuclear weapons.

"The model, if you look at that model with Gadhafi, that was a total decimation," Mr. Trump said. "We went in there to beat him. Now, that model would take place if we don't make a deal, most likely." A negotiated settlement with Mr. Kim would be "a much different deal," he said. …

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