De­nu­cle­arize or risk over­throw: Trump

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - WORLD -

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump laid out a stark choice for North Korea’s Kim Jong Un ahead of their planned sum­mit next month: Aban­don nu­clear weapons and be re­warded with “pro­tec­tions,’’ or risk be­ing over­thrown and pos­si­ble death if the arse­nal re­mains.

Trump main­tained the sched­uled June 12 meet­ing in Sin­ga­pore is on track, de­spite the North’s threat Wed­nes­day to can­cel over con­cerns about the U.S. push to see the com­plete de­nu­cle­ariza­tion of the Korean Penin­sula.

The North has ar­gued it needs its nu­clear weapons to pre­serve its se­cu­rity, and has ex­pressed con­cerns about giv­ing up its nu­clear pro­gram. The North cites the ex­am­ple of for­mer Libyan leader Moam­mar Gad­hafi, who died at the hands of rebel forces amid a pop­u­lar upris­ing in Oc­to­ber 2011; he had given up his nu­clear pro­gram in the 2000s.

Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser John Bolton ex­plic­itly cited “the Libya model of 2003-2004’’ as a ba­sis for the North Korea talks last month, which drew per­sonal re­buke from the North Korean gov­ern­ment Wed­nes­day.

Try­ing to ad­dress the North Korean con­cerns, the pres­i­dent said if Kim were to agree to de­nu­cle­arize, “he’ll get pro­tec­tions that would be very strong.’’

But Trump warned that fail­ure to make a deal could have grave con­se­quences for Kim. Men­tion­ing what hap­pened in Libya, Trump said, “That model would take place if we don’t make a deal.’’

“The Libyan model isn’t the model we have at all. In Libya we dec­i­mated that coun­try.’’ Trump added. “There was no deal to keep Gad­hafi.’’

Trump said he is “will­ing to do a lot’’ to pro­vide se­cu­rity guar­an­tees to Kim. “The best thing he could do is make a deal.’’

Trump also sug­gested China was in­flu­enc­ing North Korea’s think­ing re­gard­ing the sum­mit, point­ing to Kim’s visit to China im­me­di­ately be­fore Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo vis­ited Py­ongyang last week to fi­nal­ize the sum­mit date and lo­ca­tion.

Trump said Thurs­day that noth­ing has changed with re­spect to North Korea af­ter the warn­ing from Py­ongyang. He said North Korean of­fi­cials are dis­cussing lo­gis­ti­cal de­tails about the meet­ing with the U.S. “as if noth­ing hap­pened.’’

In ad­di­tion to threat­en­ing to pull out of the meet­ing with Trump, the North abruptly can­celled a planned meet­ing with South Korean of­fi­cials over joint U.S.-South Korean mil­i­tary ex­er­cises.

Pen­tagon spokes­woman Dana White said Thurs­day that the sched­ule of mil­i­tary ex­er­cises hasn’t changed. She added the an­nual ex­er­cises are long­planned, de­fen­sive in na­ture and meant to en­sure the readi­ness of U.S. and South Korean forces.

Ex­er­cise Max Thun­der be­gan Mon­day and con­cludes May 25.

AP PHOTO

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump speaks dur­ing a meet­ing with NATO Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Jens Stoltenberg in the Oval Of­fice of the White House Thurs­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.