August 2018
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Trump offers Kim no toppling pledge for giving up nukes
(WASHINGTON, May 18, 2018):US President Donald Trump has made an upfront offer -- and a threat -- to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un: He can remain in power indefinitely and his country could become ''very rich'' if he gave up nuclear weapons. If he does not, the US will decimate him.

In astonishingly candid public articulation of the US stand, Trump assured Kim that the US is not pursuing the ''Libya model'' of denuclearization, a suggestion by US National Security Adviser John Bolton that had panicked Pyongyang and caused it to threaten to torpedo Kim’s June 12 meeting with Trump in Singapore, because it culminated in Moammar Gaddafi’s death.

''The Libyan model isn't a model that we have at all when we're thinking of North Korea. The model, if you look at that model with Gaddafi, that was a total decimation. We went in there to beat him,'' Trump explained, with a chastened Bolton beside him as he endorsed the continuation of a dictatorship.

''Now that model would take place if we don't make a deal, most likely,'' Trump then warned, before holding out a pledge. ''But if we make a deal, I think Kim Jong-un is going to be very, very happy. He'd be there, he'd be in his country, he'd be running his country, his country would be very rich.''

Trump said the US had not been told of any change in North Korea’s plans to attend the Singapore summit and it is fine with him if it comes through or does not come through. ''Nothing has changed on North Korea that we know of. We have not been told anything,'' he said. ''And if it does that's fine and if it doesn't I think we'll probably have a very successful meeting.''

North Korea had gone ballistic earlier in the week after Bolton referenced the Libyan model, seeing it as an implicit threat to Kim’s life because of the way Gaddafi was killed.

The reclusive state was also peeved at the comparison with Libya, which did not have a fully developed nuclear weapons program and had only just embarked on the nuclear journey with help from Pakistan, whereas Pyongyang regards itself as a full-fledged nuclear weapons state.

''It is absolutely absurd to dare compare the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea], a nuclear weapons state, to Libya which had been at the initial stage of nuclear development,'' a North Korean statement had boasted in response to Bolton’s statement, adding ''We do not hide our feeling of repugnance towards him (Bolton).''

Pyongyang also rejected the contention of Bolton and secretary of state Mike Pompeo that North Korea would reap the economic rewards of denuclearization only after the rolling up of the weapons program was certifiably verified.

Trump, in his remarks, seem to offer guarantees to Kim that he could continue in power and also reap rich economic rewards if he gave up the weapons, but risk being decimated if he did not.

''We never said to Gaddafi, ‘We’re going to give you military strength,’'' Trump told reporters, implying that Kim would also have US military support if he gave up weapons, a prospect that in turn could alarm China, which is already unsettled with Washington’s close ties with Japan and South Korea.

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