North Korea:

US pres­i­dent seeks to make re­as­sur­ances over deal to de­nu­cle­arise ad­ver­sar­ial state Wash­ing­ton says it will ’pro­tect’ North Korean leader as par­ties close in on sum­mit

The Irish Times - - Front Page - SUZANNE LYNCH Wash­ing­ton Cor­re­spon­dent

US pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump sought to re­as­sure North Korea about US in­ten­tions yes­ter­day:

US pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump sought to re­as­sure North Korea about US in­ten­tions yes­ter­day as he said that the “Libya model” of de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion proposed by na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser John Bolton was not on the ta­ble.

In im­promptu com­ments in the Oval Of­fice ahead of a meet­ing with Nato sec­re­tary gen­eral Jens Stoltenberg, Mr Trump said the US had re­ceived no in­for­ma­tion sug­gest­ing that the June 12th sum­mit in Sin­ga­pore would not take place.

Mr Trump also sug­gested that the US would “pro­tect” North Korean dic­ta­tor Kim Jong-un. “He will get pro­tec­tions that are very strong,” he said, adding “the best thing he could do is make a deal”.

In lengthy com­ments, Mr Trump re­peat­edly said that the Libya model was not un­der con­sid­er­a­tion.

‘Libyan model’

“The Libyan model was a much dif­fer­ent model. We dec­i­mated that coun­try. We never said to Gadafy, ‘Oh, we’re go­ing to give you pro­tec­tion; we’re go­ing to give you mil­i­tary strength.’ We went in and dec­i­mated him and we did the same thing with Iraq,” he said, re­fer­ring to the for­mer Libyan leader Col Muam­mar Gadafy.

“That model would take place if we don’t make a deal,” he said, adding: “We can­not let that coun­try have nukes, we just can’t do it.”

North Korea warned ear­lier this week that it could can­cel the Sin­ga­pore sum­mit, specif­i­cally de­rid­ing the sug­ges­tion that the Libyan model of de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion could be used as a tem­plate for North Korea. While Libya did sur­ren­der its nu­clear weapons, Col Gadafy was ul­ti­mately killed by US-backed rebels in 2011.

Mr Trump said that prac­ti­cal prepa­ra­tions were un­der way for the sum­mit and fur­ther de­tails would be re­leased soon. “If it doesn’t take place that’s fine, and if it does take place I think tremen­dous things can hap­pen.”

Warn­ing shot

The pres­i­dent also sent out a warn­ing shot to China ahead of an ex­pected meet­ing with Chinese vice-premier Liu Yan­dong. “China has be­come very spoiled, the Euro­pean Union has be­come very spoiled . . . We can’t let that hap­pen any more,” he said. “We lost $800 bil­lion on trade last year – we’re not go­ing to be do­ing that any longer.”

A del­e­ga­tion from Bei­jing is in Wash­ing­ton for trade talks, with Mr Trump sug­gest­ing ear­lier this week that he could re­con­sider puni­tive mea­sures on Chinese tele­coms firm ZTE.

Ear­lier in the day, Mr Trump hit out at the in­ves­ti­ga­tion led by Robert Mueller into Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in the 2016 elec­tion in a se­ries of tweets, one year on from the ap­point­ment of the spe­cial coun­sel.

Mr Trump de­nounced the in­ves­ti­ga­tion as “dis­gust­ing, il­le­gal and un­war­ranted.”

“Congratulations Amer­ica, we are now into the sec­ond year of the great­est witch hunt in Amer­i­can his­tory and there is still no col­lu­sion and no ob­struc­tion. the only col­lu­sion was that


We lost $800 bil­lion on trade – we’re not go­ing to be do­ing that any longer

done by Democrats who were un­able to win an elec­tion de­spite the spend­ing of far more money!” he tweeted.

Mr Trump also ref­er­enced re­ports that there may have been a source within the Trump campaign help­ing the FBI with their in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in the elec­tion. “Wow, word seems to be com­ing out that the Obama FBI ‘Spied on the Trump campaign with an em­bed­ded informant.’ Andrew Mc­Carthy says, ‘There’s prob­a­bly no doubt that they had at least one con­fi­den­tial informant in the campaign’,” Mr Trump tweeted, re­fer­ring to a for­mer fed­eral pros­e­cu­tor who made the claims on morn­ing chat­show Fox and Friends. “If so, this is big­ger than Water­gate,” he added.


US pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump with Nato sec­re­tary gen­eral Jens Stoltenberg.

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