Trump extends of­fer to North Korea

Coun­try will get pro­tec­tion if it hands over nu­clear weapons

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY S.A. MILLER

Shift­ing into deal­maker mode, Pres­i­dent Trump ex­tended a po­ten­tially en­tic­ing of­fer Thurs­day to North Korea’s Kim Jong-un: If the dic­ta­tor gives up his nu­clear weapons, he will re­main in power, and would even get as­sur­ances of “pro­tec­tions” from the U.S.

“He will get pro­tec­tions that are very strong,” the pres­i­dent said from the Oval Of­fice.

The shock­ing of­fer — the likes of which had not been made be­fore in pub­lic — sought to smooth a ma­jor wrin­kle in a planned meet­ing be­tween Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim to hash out a nuke deal.

In re­cent days, North Korea re­peat­edly threat­ened to can­cel the June 12 sum­mit in Sin­ga­pore, ob­ject­ing to on­go­ing U.S.-South Korea mil­i­tary ex­er­cises and the lack of se­cu­rity as­sur­ances for North Korea in the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s pub­lic com­ments about an agree­ment.

Mr. Trump shrugged it off.

“Noth­ing has changed on North Korea that we know of. We have not been told any­thing, and if it does, that’s fine,” Mr. Trump told re­porters.

The two coun­tries con­tin­ued to work on ar­range­ments for the sum­mit “as if noth­ing had hap­pened,” said the pres­i­dent.

“We’ll see what hap­pens. If the meet­ing hap­pens, it hap­pens. And if it doesn’t, we go on to the next step,” said Mr. Trump, tak­ing re­porters’ ques­tions at an Oval Of­fice meet­ing with NATO Gen­eral Sec­re­tary Jens Stoltenberg.

Mr. Trump held out the threat of mil­i­tary ac­tion if North Korea won’t deal. The reclu­sive king­dom is be­lieved to have stock­piled nu­clear weapons and suc­cess­fully tested a in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile ca­pa­ble of strik­ing the U.S. main­land.

The U.S. pushed North Korea closer to the bar­gain­ing ta­ble with what Mr. Trump calls a “max­i­mum-pres­sure” campaign of eco­nomic sanc­tions and help from China, the chief spon­sor of the North.

Doubts per­sist on whether Mr. Kim can be trusted to make a deal and give up his nukes. North Korea’s rulers re­peat­edly broke past agree­ments af­ter win­ning con­ces­sions such as eco­nomic aid.

Mr. Trump’s re­marks about se­cu­rity as­sur­ances for Mr. Kim ad­dressed the is­sue at the heart of threats to scut­tle the sum­mit.

North Korea balked at a re­cent state­ment by Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser John R. Bolton that the dis­man­tling of North Korea’s nu­clear weapons pro­gram would fol­low the “Libya model.”

Mr. Bolton was re­fer­ring to quick and ver­i­fi­able de­nu­cle­ariza­tion. Mr. Kim heard “regime change.”

Libyan strong­man Muam­mar Gaddafi gave up his coun­try’s nu­clear weapons pro­gram, which had not yet pro­duced a bomb, in a 2003 agree­ment with Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush and the U.K.

The agree­ment pro­vided for a quick dis­man­tling of Libya’s rel­a­tively small nu­clear weapon pro­gram with close su­per­vi­sion.

Un­set­tling for Mr. Kim, how­ever, was that Gaddafi ended up shot and killed by an an­gry mob dur­ing the so-called “Arab Spring” upris­ing in 2011, with NATO forces and the U.S. lend­ing air sup­port to the re­volt.

“This is not an ex­pres­sion of in­ten­tion to ad­dress the is­sue through di­a­logue. It is essen­tially a man­i­fes­ta­tion of an aw­fully sin­is­ter move to im­pose on our dig­ni­fied state the destiny of Libya or Iraq, which had been col­lapsed due to yield­ing the whole of their coun­tries to big pow­ers,” North Korean Vice Foreign Min­is­ter Kim Kye-gwan said Wed­nes­day.

Mr. Trump said that Mr. Kim would get as­sur­ances of pro­tec­tion that Gaddafi did not.

“The Libyan model isn’t a model that we have at all when we’re think­ing of North Korea,” he said.

Mr. Trump said the Mr. Kim would be “run­ning his coun­try” and North Korean would be “very rich.”

“His peo­ple are tremen­dously in­dus­tri­ous. If you look at South Korea — this would be, re­ally, a South Korean model in terms of their in­dus­try, in terms of what they do. They’re hard­work­ing in­cred­i­ble peo­ple,” said the pres­i­dent.

How­ever, he fol­lowed up the op­ti­mism with a threat.

“If you look at that model with Gaddafi, that was a to­tal dec­i­ma­tion. We went in there to beat him,” said Mr. Trump. “Now that model would take place if we don’t make a deal, most likely. But if we make a deal, I think Kim Jong-un is go­ing to be very, very happy.”

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

“Noth­ing has changed on North Korea that we know of,” said Pres­i­dent Trump re­gard­ing the sched­uled sum­mit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. “We have not been told any­thing, and if it does, that’s fine.” In re­cent days, North Korea re­peat­edly...

Kim

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